Lazio President Claudio Lotito hits out at “a campaign of lies” after reports he’s under suspicion for illicit deals.
It’s being reported that prosecutors in Milan are investigating the Lazio President, among others, for rigging the sale of TV rights in favour of one particular broadcaster.
“For eight months now, a campaign of lies has been taking place against me,” Lotito told La Repubblica.
“I’ve read many untrue things about myself. I know what I have done and what I have not done, I’m not going to comment in any way on speculation in the newspapers.
“All I’ll say is that I’m disappointed by what is coming out, as none of it is true.
“We’ll talk at the end of this story, then we’ll see what the truth is.”
The case is related to Marco Borgarelli, President of InFront Italy, who is being investigated under suspicion of money laundering, after Andrea Baroni, President of Swiss company Tax&Finance was arrested last week.
Prosecutors are looking into claims that Borgarelli, in his role as advisor to the Lega Serie A and Serie B, sought to rig bidding for television rights in favour of Reti Televisive Italiane, a subsidiary of Mediaset.
The allegation is that Borgarelli, along with other directors of InFront sold rights abroad to RTI, in exchange for kickbacks, though no charges have been brought.
Today’s Gazzetta dello Sport alleges that Genoa President Enrico Preziosi, Lotito and Bari’s Gianluca Paparesta are also under suspicion from prosecutors.
It’s thought that Lotito acted as a mediator for Bari in negotiations with InFront, who legally lent €470,000 to the Puglian side. The newspaper points out that this is not illegal, though it raises the question of why Lotito would seek to help another club.
There is also the question of a Swiss company which has lent €15m to Preziosi over three years, all of which has now been paid back.
“We have not had any charge from the prosecutor in Milan,” Lotito’s lawyer insisted in a statement.
“We certainly cannot comment on the basis of media reports.”
InFront also released a statement, denying any relationship with Tax&Finance.
“The company is not under investigation. We confirm that last Friday the Milan prosecutors opened an investigation against Marco Bogarelli, Giuseppe Ciocchetti and Andrea Locatelli.
“We are cooperating with the authorities in order to provide evidence of the correctness of our actions.
“InFront has not and has never has had any relationship with the Swiss consultation company Tax and Finance and / or Andrea Baroni.”
Finally, Mediaset also affirmed its innocence.
“The company and its directors have always acted with the utmost respect for the rules. The allocation of television rights have been done by the letter of the law, and was organised under the supervision of the various authorities.”