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In the last 20 years the sports press and the others have reported much corruption in Romanian football. The accusations were especially focussed on the Romanian Football Federation, Romanian Professional League, referees and a number of club owners. Charges have been made but the siutation remains unchanged as of April, 2009.
After George Becali, the owner of the most important soccer club Steaua Bucurarest was arrested two weeks ago (as reported on the AIPS website) a new corruption scandal has shaken Romanian football: Cornel Penescu, the financier of Football Club Arges (a premier league club with a very rich history in Romanian soccer), Gheorghe Constantin, the president of the Central Commission for Referees, and several referees are in the National Anti-Corruption Department’s (DNA) sights being charged with bribery.
Penescu has already been detained.
Several referees, including Marcel Savaniu, Aurel Bogaciu and Tiberiu Lajos, are targeted by the investigation.
Sources close to the investigation have stated that the investigation was started in 2008 and focuses on several counts of extortion surrounding football games. Thus, it is allaged the referees were repeatedly bribed with sums ranging from EUR 3,000 to EUR 10,000 and EUR 15,000, for the games that FC Arges played against FC Brasov, Gloria Bistrita and Universitatea Craiova. The prosecutors state that Penescu’s bribes amount to approximately EUR 125,000.
The aforementioned sources have pointed out that the main evidence consists of court-ordered phone taps that targeted the referees. The DNA prosecutors searched the headquarters of FC Arges and those of a company owned by Penescu.
The DNA investigators also picked up several documents from the headquarters of the Romanian Football Federation (FRF). The documents have to do with a dossier handled by the Anti-Corruption Pitesti Territorial Office. The prosecutors have also sealed the office of Gheorghe Constantin, the president of the Central Commission for Referees.
According to Romania's Rich List compiled last year by the ‘Capital’ magazine, Cornel Penescu had an estimated wealth of EUR 160-170 M, ranking 42nd in that table. However, until now Penescu was seen as a fierce defender of fair refereeing, having attacked more than once both the referees and the club officials who in his opinion had influence within the CCA and with the delegations.
Penescu talked several times about fixed games, even accusing Dorinel Munteanu, one of his team’s head coaches, of selling a game to his former club Steaua Bucharest. When coming out of the DNA’s
Also heard this week were Liviu Facaleata, general director of the “PIC” hypermarket, a hypermarket owned by Cornel Penescu, League I referee Mihaita Ianovschi, who is also a coach within FC Arges’s centre for children and juniors, and Cristian Libertatu, former director of the Arges County Consumer Protection Office and current inspector within that office.
According to one of Penescu’s lawyers, referee Mihaita Ianovschi is charged with indirectly favoring FC Arges after he was promoted to referee League I games.
Somali football media department
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