Thursday, October 29, 2020

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell cleared of money laundering charges by Spanish court

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Spain’s National Court has cleared former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell of money laundering, it announced Wednesday after prosecutors appealed a first acquittal in April.

Rosell, who spent 21 months in jail pending his trial, had been accused of “large-scale money laundering” of close to €20 million ($23 million) relating to television rights and sponsorship deals in Brazil.

In April, the Madrid-based National Court, which deals with major financial cases, acquitted the 55-year-old of the charge, as well as his wife and four other people who had been on the bench too.

It said that “after evaluating the evidence presented during the trial, the accusations were not proven”, prompting prosecutors to appeal.

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On Wednesday, the court said its appeals chamber had confirmed the first acquittal.

The Rosells had been accused of hiding money illegally obtained by Ricardo Teixeira, the former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation, for television rights to Brazil friendly matches.

Rosell had previously lived and worked in Brazil, where he forged business links.

He had also been suspected of having received money illicitly as part of Nike’s sponsorship deal with the Brazilian team.

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Rosell was Barcelona president from 2010 to 2014, when he resigned over murky transfer dealings that brought Brazilian striker Neymar to the club from Santos.

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