MILAN, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Italian Serie A soccer club Juventus (JUVE.MI) on Tuesday denied wrongdoing after prosecutors probing allegations of false accounting and market manipulation completed an investigation into the club’s financial statements.
In Italy the conclusion of an investigation usually precedes any request from prosecutors to send suspects to trial.
Juventus, its board, leading executives and members of the board of its statutory auditors have been informed that the current phase of the investigation has ended, Anna Maria Loreto, chief prosecutor in the club’s home city of Turin, said in a statement late on Monday.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that there are 15 suspects in all, in addition to the club itself, including club president Andrea Agnelli.
Juventus, a business listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and Italy’s most successful soccer club, said it believed it had followed the correct procedures.
„Juventus remains convinced… to have acted in compliance with the laws and regulations governing the preparation of financial reports, in accordance with accounting principles and in line with the international practice in the football industry,” the club said in a statement.
The Turin prosecutor alleged that Juventus understated its financial losses for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Prosecutors have been looking into the values ascribed to player transfers between clubs and whether, as stated, salaries were sacrificed during the COVID-19 pandemic or simply deferred.
Juventus, one of 12 leading European clubs that made a failed attempt to set up a breakaway European Super League in April 2021 to beef up its finances, is controlled by Exor (EXOR.AS), the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family.
Last month, the Serie A side said it would finish the current financial year in the red after it reported a record 254 million euros ($253.29 million) annual loss during the previous year.
In 2021, the club completed a 400 million euro capital hike to shore up its finances, in its second rights issue in the span of three years.
In a separate statement, lawyers for the club, Agnelli and some Juventus executives also said they had complied with existing laws and accounting principles.
„Moreover, during the years concerned, Juventus has carried out two different capital increases in full transparency and respecting regulations to the letter,” the statement said.
„The amounts of these capital increases exceed and largely absorb those which have been contested in the investigation, which in any case would have no effect on the indebtedness of the company,” the lawyers added.
($1 = 1.0028 euros)
Reporting by Emilio Parodi and Elvira Pollina, additional reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Keith Weir and Hugh Lawson
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