Popescu receives suspended prison sentence

The former Barcelona captain was one of a number of influential Romanian football personalities to be charged for corruption at the turn of the century and is now punished
Former Romania defender Gheorghe Popescu has been handed a three-year suspended prison sentence for his part in a corruption scandal that involved a number of influential members of the Romanian football community.

The 45-year-old was sentenced at the Romanian Appeal Court on Monday after being found guilty of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering after originally being cleared of the charges in April.

Popescu, along with the other defendants, were accused of not declaring the full transfer fees that they received for players when selling them to foreign clubs between 1999-2005.

Some of the transfers that were involved included Nicolae Mitea and Cosmin Contra's moves from Dinamo Bucharest to Ajax and Alaves, respectively.

The former Barcelona captain's sentence was not the harshest received, as former Dinamo Bucharest executive president Cristian Borcea was given seven years in prison whilst George Copos, who is the majority stakeholder in Rapid Bucharest, was given five years.

Steaua Bucharest director Mihai Stoica was also sentenced to four years' imprisonment with limited rights for the first three of those.

All the defendants can appeal their sentences at the Supreme Court.