Monday November 26 2018
Palermo implicated in 'bribery' charges

The saga of Palermo's sale takes another twist, with accusations a former President bribed a judge to avoid bankruptcy.

The Rosanero risked bankruptcy at the start of the season, as owner Maurizio Zamparini pushed to sell the club.

It was announced last week that a buyer has been found, but the Sicilian club has been engulfed by more scandal.

Paul Baccaglini's takeover collapsed, so accountant Giovanni Giammarva was appointed as President while Zamparini continued as owner.

As an accountant he was entrusted with ensuring the financial stability of the club, but today prosecutors have brought charges against both him and the judge in the case.

Judge Giuseppe Sidoti has provisionally been suspended for a year, as has Giammarva, on corruption charges.

The Caltanissetta magistrate alleges that Sidoti, a bankruptcy judge, created an ad hoc sentence to allow the club to avoid being declared insolvent, in exchange for his friend, lawyer Vincenzo Palazzolo, being given a role with the Rosanero.

The investigating judge has given orders to suspend him for a year, on charges of bribery, abuse of office and disclosure of confidential information.

The Guardia di Finanza has also notified former President Giammarva of an accusation of bribery.

This morning there was a raid in the bankruptcy section of Palermo’s Palazzo di Giustizia, with all of today’s hearings postponed while a search was carried out.

A phone call was intercepted between Zamparini and Palermo’s lawyer, Francesco Paolo Di Trapani, in which they discussed a meeting with Sidoti, who was in charge of the bankruptcy proceedings and that kicked off the investigation.

“We acknowledge the latest investigation involving Palermo coinciding with the delicate process of selling the club,” a statement on the club’s website reads.

“Once again, we have collaborated with the investigative bodies in order to shed light on the affair, even though we disagreed with the doubts raised by the Prosecutor.

“The bankruptcy proceedings were assessed and rejected by a cross-party body on the basis of objective data established by a cross-party report. The accounting figures showed that Palermo Calcio was a solid club and that the owners had always taken action where necessary.

“The fact that the rejection of the bankruptcy proceedings was not appealed by the Palermo prosecutor confirms this. The rejection thus became definitive, showing that there was no doubt regarding the validity of the proceedings leading to the rejection.

“The club again showed its solidity after the successful end to the proceedings. Despite over €1.2 million being seized when the club registered for the 2018/19 season, the club has nonetheless been able to meet all economic and financial requirements since the month of June, creating a successful team in the process.

“We hope that none of this has any effect on the sale of the club, which has now been agreed, and on the ability of the team to focus on its efforts to achieve promotion to Serie A in peace.”