UEFA said on Thursday it was launching its own investigation into the finances of Serie A club Juventus.
Earlier in the day, Italian media reported that Italian prosecutors have requested ex-chairman Andrea Agnelli and 12 other defendants to stand trial on charges of false accounting and other crimes.
UEFA, the governing body of European football, subsequently released a statement saying that the investigative chamber of its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) had opened a formal investigation into whether Juventus had misled them and broken the rules.
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It is the second time this year that UEFA has launched an investigation into Juventus.
Thursday’s short statement said it would investigate whether the Turin club had provided misleading information in order to resolve the first case in August with a “settlement agreement”.
Agnelli, Vice-President Pavel Nedved and the rest of the Serie A club’s board resigned on Monday following an investigation by the Italian authorities into accounting irregularities.
UEFA said its own “investigation will focus on the alleged financial violations recently made public as a result of the proceedings led by Italy’s Companies and Exchange Commission (CONSOB) and the Turin prosecutor’s office.”
Juventus was among a group of clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan, who reached an agreement in August to pay a fine following an investigation into violations of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play.
The CFCB had determined that the clubs did not meet the “break-even requirement” in fiscal years from 2018 to 2022. Juventus agreed to pay 3.5 million euros.
In announcing the review, UEFA said that if it finds that “the financial situation of the club differed significantly from that … at the time the settlement agreement was concluded, or if new and substantial facts come to light” , the CFCB “reserves the right to terminate the agreement”. settlement agreement, take any legal action it deems appropriate, and impose disciplinary action.”
Agnelli was one of the architects of the proposed Super League which would have competed with the UEFA Champions League.
After most of the stated members dropped out due to public backlash, Juventus was one of three remaining, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid, to claim the competition was financially necessary.
Earlier, Italian media reported that prosecutors in Turin had formally asked a judge to take the case to court.
The CONSOB investigation focused on whether Juve, which is listed on the Italian stock exchange, provided false accounting information to investors while issuing invoices for non-existent transactions related to the years 2019 to 2021.
– Salary cuts –
It concerns more than 282 million euros ($296 million) in capital gains from transactions related to players recorded in Juve’s financial results for those years.
Prosecutors are also investigating how the club took into account salary cuts for Juventus players during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
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Juventus, which has also been named as a defendant, said in a statement on Wednesday that the allegations in the case “appear to be unfounded”.
It defended the way it had accounted for the salary cuts, equivalent to four months’ pay.
Agnelli became club president in 2010 in the wake of the calciopoli scandal. Juventus was relegated in 2006 for influencing the appointment of referees.
He is a member of the powerful family that has led the club for almost a century. He also sits on the boards of automaker Stellantis, including Turin-based Fiat, and its holding company Exor, which also owns Juventus. Both companies are run by Agnelli’s cousin John Elkann.
Prosecutors in Turin did not immediately respond to a request for information from AFP.
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