Source Pravda.Ru

Soccer corruption probe closed in Italy

Prosecutors completed their investigation Monday into allegations of corruption in the Italian soccer transfer market and were preparing indictments against eight people, including former Juventus director Luciano Moggi, the ANSA news agency said.

The eight are accused of conspiring to control transfers by intimidating players into signing with sports management agency GEA World, which is run by Moggi's son, Alessandro. Prosecutors said the intimidation often included threats of violence.

Also facing possible charges are Alessandro Moggi and player agent David Lippi, the son of Italy's World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi.

French forward David Trezeguet's contract renewal at Juventus is one of several cases cited in the probe, ANSA said.

The Rome prosecutor's office and GEA World both declined to comment. ANSA said prosecutors would file an indictment if the accused cannot provide evidence clearing them within 20 days.

Lawyers for Alessandro Moggi said they would submit their defense in the next few days, ANSA reported.

The probe is one of several criminal investigations nationwide into corruption in Italian soccer, including sports fraud, illegal betting and false bookkeeping.

Luciano Moggi was banned from soccer for five years and fined 50,000 euros(US$63,000) by a sports court in July for influencing the outcome of matches in a high-profile probe that tainted Italian soccer even as the national team won its fourth World Cup, the AP said.

As part of the sports trial, Juventus was stripped of its last two Serie A titles and relegated to the second division - Serie B - with a nine-point penalty. Four other Serie A clubs - AC Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina - were forced to begin the season with point penalties for their roles in the match-fixing scandal.

GEA World handles more soccer transfers in Italy than any other management company and in 2005 had more than 200 players on its books, according to Italian daily Corriere Della Sera.

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