Levante-Zaragoza: In search of the million euros
Between May 17 and 19, 2011, 965,000 euros entered and left without justification of the accounts of 10 players, the coach and the sports director of Real Zaragoza.
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Between May 17 and 19, 2011, 965,000 euros entered and left without justification of the accounts of 10 players, the coach and the sports director of Real Zaragoza . Everyone received an entry from the club and all withdrew 85,000 or 90,000 euros in cash from their accounts. They did it two days before the permanence in the First Division was played in the Ciutat de Valencia against a Levante UD already saved.
Suspicions that those amounts were destined to buy the game were increased when Zaragoza achieved its goal with a 1-2 victory in its best away game against Levante who, with nothing at stake, made its worst numbers at home in those Last 90 minutes of the 2010/11 season. The crash statistics were striking.
The Professional Football League ( LFP ) and Deportivo de la Coruña took the alleged size to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office , which tomorrow will sit 36 players on the bench, coach Javier Aguirre and four former Real Zaragoza leaders, in addition to the club itself . They are charged with an alleged crime of sports fraud , which can be punishable by up to four years in prison.
It is the first time that Spanish football sits on a bench for alleged love. Some of the defendants are still active or have given way to the benches, and their careers could be affected not only by the prison sentence, but because the accusations call for six years of disqualification in "any work position related to the football » . In the case of the leaders of Zaragoza, three of them - former President Agapito Iglesias , and two counselors - are also accused of another crime of falsification in a commercial document.
What really happened with that million euros and why defend the accusations that went to the staff of the Levant? First, because Zaragoza players incurred contradictions in their statements. Of the 18 defendants, 11 received the admission: Lanzarote (90,000), Ander Herrera (90,000), Doblas (90,000), Da Silva (90,000), Braulio (90,000), Ponzio (85,000), Gabi (85,000), Jorge López ( 90,000) and Diogo (85,000), in addition to the sports director, Antonio Prieto (85,000) and coach, Javier Aguirre (85,000).
Gabi and Jorge López, captains of the team, explained at first that the president had asked them to take out the money, destined to cover the trip to Valencia for the fans, and to deliver it to the club. Then they changed the version: they handed the amounts to the president in an envelope in a restaurant, without knowing where it would go. The same kept Aguirre, Ponzio or Ander Herrera. However, Agapito Iglesias denied it before the judge and defended that the payments corresponded to premiums for the permanence , although it was not yet guaranteed before the duel with the Levant.
At this point, the former president and the manager of Zaragoza are charged with another crime: the alleged falsification of payrolls dated September - since June the entity was in bankruptcy proceedings - to justify the exit of the coffers of the club of 965,000 Euros Because they never came back.
The route to Orriols is drawn by the accusations when finding a piece of information provided by the Tax Agency : the Levante players barely took cash from their accounts or used the credit card on all vacations. Anti-corruption collated its expenses with those of the summer of 2010 and the suspicion increased. Two examples: Juanfran García spent more than 600,000 euros in 2010 and in 2011 he barely removed 6,000 from his accounts; Gustavo Munúa went from spending 250,000 euros a summer to get only 300 euros from an ATM in the following. Living with parents, spending summer with in-laws, collecting loans made to friends or having saved money at home are some of the justifications of Levante players.
The contradictions of some and the lack of arguments of others were not enough for the head of the Court of Instruction number 7 of Valencia to appreciate clear indications of adjustment and sit the defendants on the bench. Isabel Rodríguez considered that it was not possible to prove where Zaragoza's money ended and that the reduction of expenses of the Levantinists, many of them foreigners and with accounts in other countries, were a "weak" sign. In addition, it highlights in its file that the complaint of the League has not been ratified by any of the alleged confidants of Javier Tebas , that the Zaragoza bankruptcy administration validated the alleged false payrolls and that “passive behaviors were not appreciated in the party or suspicious.
However, the Provincial Court dismantled the arguments one by one, revoked the file and sent to resume the procedure with the opening of an oral trial, which will place the 42 defendants on the bench in sessions that will last from tomorrow until next September 30 . All the accused will have to sit on the bench, at least in the first session and until the judge, if they consider it, gives them permission to leave and only forces them to appear to give a statement. It will be a request made by the lawyers of players such as Ander Herrera, Iborra, Stuani, Leo Ponzio, Jefferson Montero, Manuel Reina or Caicedo, all still active in first level clubs of different leagues and immersed in official competitions.
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