US basketball player Hardy Chauncey died following an attack on him in a Giurgiu, South Romania club last weekend. The key suspect is George Ionut Tanasoaia, known locally as Gypsy Gypsanu. While the local mayor and the police have repeatedly said that Gypsy Gypsanu was not linked to a local underworld clan known as "Butoane" ("Buttons"), images on Facebook and statements by local people say that the suspect was in fact close to the clan.
Statements made by local various sources to a HotNews.ro correspondent about the incident in Emotione club, Giurgiu vary considerably., while official reports exclude any connection to the Giurgiu underworld bosses.
Several scenarios about the scenario of Chauncey Hardy's death have emerged:
- multiple aggressors, video cameras in the club were shut. A local journalist told HotNews.ro that he was told by a witness how Chauncey did not fall to the ground immediately and managed to hit his aggressor twice. Then, Gypsy Gypsanu shut off the video cameras in the club, his friends emptied the venue and circled Chauncey and beat him. According to the source, the key suspect, "Gypsy Gypsanu" Tanasoaia, is linked to local mob boss Octavian Grecu also known as "Butoane".
- a single aggressor, a spontaneous conflict with no link to the Butoane clan, as declared by police officials.
- Chauncey Hardy was circled by men and was hit with a bottle, but no involvement of underworld people - as stated by the manager of the basketball team Hardy was playing for.
- one hit, one aggressor, no involvement of underworld people, as said by the prosecutors
Who are the key suspect and the Butoane clan
The key suspect, George Ionut "Gypsy Gypsanu" Tanasoaia, 25, is described by local journalists as a "lieutenant" of the Butoane clan. Giurgiu police and the mayor claim Tanasoaia does not belong to any underworld clan and that there were no such clans in a "small city" like Giurgiu.
But George Ionut Tanasoaia's Facebook profile shows a picture depicting him in the company of Floricel Grecu, one of the sons of Octavian "Butoane" Grecu.
Local media has reported about the emergence of the Butoane clan for several years. Reports say it is involved mainly in money lending schemes. Octavian "Butoane Grecu" is described as a a man who extended his activities to real estate and built connections with politicians.
According to local reports and a local politician contacted by HotNews.ro, Butoane is linked to the incumbent mayor of Giurgiu, whom he allegedly helped in the electoral campaign.
The mayor has denied links with Butoane, but did not deny links to a group in Giurgiu: "I have nothing to do with Butoane. I've never met him. The stupid things they say. I have such a group of Gypsies, but they're good boys. They're only in the money lending scheme and don't do stupid things", mayor Lucian Iliescu said.
Romanian media has also reported that a Senator, Cezar Magureanu, attended Octavian "Butoane" Grecu's birthday party two years ago. Images were posted on a local video sharing site depicting Magureanu in the company of Butoane.
Additionally, Ionut Tanasoaia was defended in court by another local politician, Emil Vuca.
Answering questions about his appearance in the company of "Butoane" Grecu two years ago, Senator Cezar Magureanu said on Tuesday that there was such thing as presumption of innocence and said he as a popular man was attending parties in Giurgiu often, as news agency Mediafax reports.