Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Gheorghe Popescu has been sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in transfer irregularities in his home country Romania.
According to reports from Todomercado the ex Romanian international was part of the Mediafax agency which has been accused of extortion, tax evasion and money laundering. Popescu isn’t alone in the accusations with harsher penalties handed to others involved in the crimes.
Mihai Stocia of Steua Bucharest was given four years whilst George Copos of Rapid Bucharest received five years. The largest sentenced was handed out to Cristian Borcea, the CEO of Dinamo Bucharest who was given a staggering seven years for financial crimes.
Popescu is expected to have to serve the sentence behind bars unless his legal team ask for it to be suspended and there are no indications of an appeal. He has previously stated his innocence and other defendants have claimed a political aspect to the prosecution and subsequent harsh sentences handed out.
Back in 2009 Gheorghe Popescu was accused of being an informer for Romania's old secret police, this was something he denied at first but went on to admit. He'd given information about former team mates in the form of notes to the secret police after signing an agreement which said he'd work to protect the national interests during the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. It's all a bit more in depth and serious than the usual accusations levelled at footballers.
Popescu also represented Barcelona, PSG and Galatasaray during an impressive career which saw him receive 115 caps for Romania.