|Birth Day:||June 25, 1958|
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He was given a three-year prison sentence for his role in a late 1990s, politically corrupt land-swapping deal.
During childhood and adolescence, Becali was a supporter of the Dinamo București football club. His cousins Victor and Ioan are football agents. In 1994, he married Luminița, who is eleven years younger than him; they have three daughters: Teodora (born 1995), Alexandra (b. 1996), and Cristina (b. 2001).
At the 2000 Romanian legislative election, Becali was a candidate of the "League of Italian Communities in Romania" for the seat in the Chamber of Deputies reserved for the Italian minority. He received 16,266 votes (0.15%) countrywide, of which 7,677 in Ilfov County. Nevertheless, he lost to Ileana Stana-Ionescu, who got only 2,943 votes in one constituency. Becali contested the results, but according to Romanian election law, for national minorities, it is not the total number of votes that matters; the individual who gains the largest percentage in one constituency wins the seat reserved for that national minority.
In November 2001, Becali and his bodyguards insulted and physically abused Malonga Parfait, the host of the satirical football TV show Fotbal la Maxx. Becali called Parfait a "monkey" allegedly because the latter is of African origin.
In February 2002, Becali cursed and threatened Cristian Tudor Popescu, a well-known journalist, in a café, after the latter had written the article "O statuie pentru Puiu Paşcu" ("A Statue for Puiu Paşcu" – a former Minister of Defense in the Social Democratic Party cabinet of Adrian Năstase) in Adevărul about the controversial land swap with the Army and the assault on Malonga Parfait. Becali told Popescu that he should have been shot and that the journalists destroyed Romania.
Becali joined the General Shareholders' Council of the Steaua București football team at the end of the 1990s, during the presidency of businessman Viorel Păunescu. Step by step, he tried to eliminate other possible candidates and gather all the club's shares. He obtained 51% of the shares on 6 February 2003 and he bought another 15% toward the end of the year 2003.
He has led the New Generation – Christian Democrat Party (PNG-CD) since January 2004, being its candidate in the 2004 presidential election, receiving 1.77% of votes cast (184,560 votes).
In his 2004 electoral campaign, Becali used clips of the "Mihai Viteazul" movie (directed by Sergiu Nicolaescu), whose main character was played by Amza Pellea. Amza's daughter, Oana Pellea, sued Becali for using Amza Pellea's image without permission and won 35,000 RON (about $12,000) in damages.
His 2004 electoral slogan "I, Gigi Becali, swear to all Romanians and to God that I'll make Romania shine like the holy sun of the sky" ("Eu Gigi Becali, jur în faţa tuturor românilor şi în faţa lui Dumnezeu că voi face ca România să strălucească precum soarele sfânt de pe cer!") is taken from the testament of Ion Moţa, one of the founders of the Iron Guard.
On October 17, 2005, his entire fortune was impounded by the National Fiscal Authority (ANAF) for debts totaling US$11,000,000. However, Becali sued the ANAF and won the trial, and subsequently the order of seizure was lifted. He was however able to avoid paying the taxes by transferring the assets of Steaua to a newly formed company, AFC Steaua București, allowing the old association to go bankrupt. As of 2007, Becali detains no official link to the club, as he gradually renounced his shares in favour of his nephews.
In 2005, the papers wrote that he commissioned a painting inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, in which he holds the place of Jesus, while the eleven players and the coach hold the place of the disciples. Becali denied the story, claiming that he received the painting from an admirer.
In 2005, Dan Pavel resigned from his job as Becali's adviser because of Becali's links with Noua Dreaptă, a neofascist organization. Pavel claims that a few months after, Becali gave up those links.
There have been numerous controversies with the violent declarations linked with the Steaua football team, including the use of slurs against the Romani and other minorities by fans and employees of Becali. He also sang in April 2005 a manea which included a racial slur against the Roma.
In 2005, Becali provoked controversy by using extremely vulgar language in an interview, insulting the reporter and the channel he worked for (Antena 1).
In July 2005, in a restaurant, Becali cursed, spat and spilled a glass of wine on Şerban Huidu, the creator of the satirical TV show Cronica Cârcotaşilor. Becali got the nickname "Ioan Botezătorul" (John the Baptist) after this incident.
He currently is one of the favorite subjects of the Romanian media, due to his frequent slips of the tongue and inflammatory remarks. For example, in July 2005, a reporter called Becali to ask him some questions related to the Steaua București football club. Becali used this opportunity to unleash a flurry of curses addressed to Antena 1 and Dan Voiculescu. He himself said in the dialogue that "he is not a civilized man".
The affair was investigated in 2006 by the National Anticorruption Directorate (NAD). In July 2007, the NAD started to investigate a transaction between Becali and the daughter of Defence Minister Victor Babiuc, involving land in Pipera which was sold for $300/sqm.
In December 2006, he promised that his party would generate a "Cultural revolution" in Romania.
On May 26, 2006, Becali's personal foundation, the "George Becali Christian Foundation", along with the Romanian Orthodox Church and 22 NGOs, signed a protest letter calling on the government and the courts to ban the Bucharest GayFest 2006 parade, focused that year on the theme of same-sex unions. A few days later, the Bucharest Court of Appeals ruled, however, that the parade was legal, and it was ensured significant police protection. Becali justified his opposition to the pride parade by stating that he "doesn't discriminate against homosexuals" but that, "They abuse their rights. This is proselytism. They can do what they want in their homes, but not on the streets. I call on the Romanian Orthodox Church to defend the Christian faith and morals". Becali declared that he intended to pay for a referendum on same-sex marriage, which he believed 99% of people would vote against. He was also widely criticized in the media for asking, "Why [are there] so many homosexuals? I'll give two or five million dollars [for a referendum], so we can finish off all homosexuals in the country."
In October 2006, Gigi Becali was awarded the LGBT community's "black ball" for the most homophobic personality in Romania, as part of the 2006 Gay Awards Gala which took place during the Gay Film Nights Festival of Cluj-Napoca.
Following a match of Steaua București in April 2006, his bodyguards used violence against a female reporter of Realitatea TV after Becali asked them to "take her away from that place".
In 2007, it was revealed that in 1998, when Becali sent the offer to the Romanian Army, he was not the owner of the property in Ștefăneștii de Jos, buying it only after it was clear that the deal would be signed. Also, the Army was not legally allowed to give away the Pipera plot, because it was claimed by former owners.
At the elections for the European Parliament, held in November 2007, his party (PNG-CD) obtained 4.86% of the popular vote, just under the 5% needed for admission in the EU governing body. The same happened in the December 2008 elections, which came as a surprise to many people.
During Bucharest's annual GayFest in June 2007, Becali seemed to have tempered his homophobic stance. He declared in an interview that "I love them [homosexuals] in the same way that I love all other people. They can marry at the City Hall, every day, 10 of them if they want to. But in church, they don't have a place." When questioned about homosexuality in another interview conducted during the 2007 GayFest, he stated, "They can do what they want... marry... I don't have anything against that". On the question of whether he would accept a gay person in the New Generation Party of which he is president, Becali replied "But why would I have a problem with that? Who knows how many there already are?"
In September 2007, he resumed his homophobic speech, stating that if he becomes president of Romania, he will "get rid of all homosexual and lesbian clubs" and create special neighbourhoods for homosexuals and lesbians, so that "they can stay there and leave us [alone]". He also referred to gays as "sinners" and said that "they should go to the priest if they have problems in their head". The secretary-general of the New Generation Party, Cătălin Dâncu, later appeared to distance himself from Becali's comments, declaring that, "As long as EU principles clearly state that minority rights must be respected, Romania as a member-state must respect them".
In September 2007, Becali sparked controversy when he insulted parliamentarian Lavinia Șandru, stating that she should "go and become a candidate for the ring road, not for the European Parliament", a veiled reference to prostitution. He has also remarked that a woman "has no more value" after she has given birth to a child. This led to a group of twenty-six women reporting Becali to the National Council for Combating Discrimination for contravening Romania's anti-discrimination laws. On October 6, the Council ruled that Becali's comments were discriminatory towards women and "affected the dignity of women", Becali being fined 500 lei.
Becali announced in 2008 that he intends to open his own bank, named "Becali Bank", intended to be used "only by millionaires", with an initial investment of 30 million euro. Nevertheless, the Administration Council of the National Bank of Romania rejected the plan of creation without giving a public reason. Cotidianul notes that the National Bank can reject the creation of a new bank if they suspect that the new bank would not respect the laws or that they won't have solid and prudent investment policies.
Some of Becali's remarks have been considered xenophobic; for instance, in May 2008, the National Audiovisual Council fined the OTV channel for allowing Becali's "aggressive and xenophobic speech", which "instigated to hate against the Hungarian minority in Romania" to go on live, without any intervention from Dan Diaconescu, the talk show host. He also believes in a conspiracy of the "Hungarian Freemasons", claiming that it is they who are financing Steaua's adversary, CFR Cluj.
In 2008, he admitted that when he lost money in a casino, he lost his temper and began throwing chairs toward the windows, breaking them.
He also ran in the 2009 presidential elections where he got 1.91% of the vote.
On April 2, 2009 George Becali was arrested over illegally holding 3 people against their will, because he suspected they were involved in stealing his car. He was arrested for 29 days, but he got out of jail after 15 days. Four other people, his bodyguards, Cătălin Zmărăndescu, Ştefan Dediu, Nicolae Dumitraşcu and Dumitru Beciual, who were also involved in the incident, were issued arrest warrants as well. Becali announced his candidacy for the European Parliament from his prison cell. Nick Thorpe, the BBC's correspondent to Romania, says that many Romanians see him as a victim of crime rather than a perpetrator, and that sympathy about the case undoubtedly helped Becali win a seat in Brussels for the nationalist Greater Romania Party. Romanian judges initially barred Becali from taking his MEP seat due to ongoing police investigation. Eventually, the Romanian Supreme Court lifted all bans and Becali was allowed to take his Brussels seat. Becali spent three week in jail during the investigation. In February 2013, Becali was given a suspended sentence of 3 years in jail for this case.
In 2010 Becali made public statements that Steaua would never employ a gay footballer. ACCEPT, a Romanian gay rights organisation, complained against Becali and Steaua to Romania's National Council for Combating Discrimination that these statements breached Romania's anti-discrimination and hate speech laws. The Council upheld the complaint against Becali. However, it imposed no fine because of a Romanian law that a fine cannot be imposed more than six months after the discriminatory act. The Council dismissed the complaint against Steaua because Becali is not an official spokesperson of the club. ACCEPT appealed the decision to the Bucharest Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal has referred questions of European Union law to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Court heard the case on 22 January 2012 and delivered its judgment on the 25th of April 2013, in which it found that homophobic statements regarding recruitment of football players made by a person who is perceived by the public as having a leading role in the football club can constitute direct discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which is prohibited by the Council Directive 2000/78 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.
In 2012, he was selected as a candidate of the Social-Liberal Union (USL) for a deputy mandate in Bucharest, Sector 6, at the National Liberal Party's (PNL) side. He negotiated the coalition of PNG-CD with PNL, but the majority of the liberals didn't agree with this measure. On 19 October 2012, Becali joined PNL, with the support of the party president, Crin Antonescu. He won the election in the 25th uninominal college with 65% of the votes. Becali requested to be a member of the Judicial Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and received assurances that he will be appointed. He resigned from PNL after receiving penal condemnation. On 29 May 2013, the Chamber of Deputies decreed the end of Becali's term as a parliamentarian.
In 2012, Gigi Becali refused to sign French football player Florent Sinama Pongolle on the basis that he was black, even though Romanian football player Bănel Nicoliță, who played with him at the French club Saint-Etienne, said that the player was very talented.
George Becali was sentenced to three years in prison on 20 May 2013. According to the prosecutors, between 1996 and 1999, in the role of administrator of the state's public property land in the Voluntari area, the Ministry of National Defense performed two land swaps with George Becali. The total area of the two traded plots was 0.2889 square kilometers of land. This trade resulted in 892,758 USD of damage to the Romanian state.
Currently, Gigi Becali is 64 years, 3 months and 4 days old. Gigi Becali will celebrate 65th birthday on a Sunday 25th of June 2023.
Find out about Gigi Becali birthday activities in timeline view here.