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Police probe Steaua Bucharest´s 1m euro cash ´bonus´

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 May 2008

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Five people were arrested here Wednesday after police found a suitcase containing one million euros in cash reportedly put up by Steaua Bucharest in a bid to help them win the title.

Investigators suspect the cash haul was offered by Steaua to Universitatea Cluj on one condition – that they didn’t lose to Steaua’s only rivals to the Romanian first division title.

In the end Universitatea lost 1-0 to CFR Cluj, a result which saw CFR Cluj clinch the title on the last day of the season by one point from Steaua.

Livia Saplacan, a spokeswoman for Romania’s anti-corruption squad (DNA) stated: “We confirm that an inquiry is taking place in Cluj.”

According to local media one of the five arrested was a shareholder in Steaua Bucharest whose owner Gigi Becali had announced publically that he was organising a sum of money “with lots of zeros” as an incentive to Universitatas to block FCR Cluj’s path to the championship on Wednesday night.

“If you don’t lose the match, the money is yours. If on the other hand you don’t succeed in stopping CFR, the money returns to me,” he told Universitatae’ players.

Interviewed on Telesport Becali implicitly confirmed he was the target of the DNA investigation.

“So, my men don’t have the right to have money on them to buy property in Cluj?” he asked when quizzed over his involvement in the affair.

This week he insisted there was nothing wrong with offering money like this as “big incentives mean proper football, otherwise you’d get fixed matches.”

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