Barca president Rosell accused of fraud in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, March 13 : Barcelona president Sandro Rosell faces possible fraud charges in Brazil over a 2008 friendly match organised by his marketing company Ailanto.
A Brazilian court Tuesday heard Ailanto was contracted to promote the fixture without a formal bidding process and that a false document was used to secure the deal, reports Xinhua.
According to public prosecutors, Ailanto, which is owned by Rosell, received $4million to organise the match.
Rosell, Barcelona's president since July 2010, faces up to eight years in jail in Brazil if he is charged and found guilty.
The court will hear his defence before a judge decides whether to proceed with charges.
Rosell's lawyer Antenor Madruga said his client had already been cleared of claims that the rights for the match had been bought illegally.
"The charges that have been levelled are under two allegations," Madruga was quoted as saying by Brazilian daily Folha de S.Paulo Tuesday. "One about whether his company had the capacity to promote matches, the other whether he presented false documents to prove he was able to promote matches. The police investigation did not come to any conclusion, but the prosecutor went ahead anyway."
Prosecutors allege the company was not properly accredited to promote the match.
Madruga said the "false" document in question was valid because it belonged to a company that, like Ailanto, was "99% owned" by Rosell.
"Sandro had the rights to the game and he used that to proceed," Madruga said. "The game was a success. This happens in Brazil sometimes, they do these things due to other motives. Sandro owned the rights and that is what is important."
The three-year investigation also led to allegations of over-billing of air tickets and hotel stays during the friendly.
Former Brazilian football federation president Ricardo Teixeira was not implicated in the case by prosecutors despite reports that Rosell deposited nearly $2 million in the account of one of Teixeira's daughters in 2011.
Rosell, a former Nike executive in Brazil, played a leading role in securing the company's current sponsorship deal with the Brazilian football federation.
The allegations surfaced after Teixeira quit his post at the federation and the local 2014 World Cup organising committee amid allegations of corruption.