Posted on Apr 17
The MEP and owner of Romanian giants Steaua Bucharest, George 'Gigi' Becali, was on Tuesday cleared over allegations he tried to bribe players from another club.
"I wasn't afraid about being convicted, but about the fact that rewards could have been considered as corruption," said Becali after the verdict was announced by the Supreme Court of Justice.
"I'm pleased to see that in my country, God does not let Satan do what he wants."
The outspoken Steaua owner was indicted in December 2008 for promising to give a bonus of 100,000 euros ($131,000) to each Universitatea Cluj player if they beat Steaua's rivals CFR Cluj on the final day of the 2007-08 season.
On the day of the match, Romanian anti-corruption agents seized a suitcase containing 1.7 million euros from the boot of a car belonging to Teia Sponte, the vice-president of Steaua's board.
Becali initially claimed that the money was to be used in the purchase of land in the north-west city of Cluj, before admitting that it was in fact for "rewards".
Victory for Universitatea Cluj would have allowed Steaua to become Romanian league champions but they lost the match and CFR Cluj won the title by a point.
The judges' reasons for acquitting Becali and his co-defendants have not yet been published.