Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Reports: Milan clubs under investigation

The President of Inter and the vice-President of AC Milan have been placed under investigation by an Italian magistrate probing false accounting in Serie A, the Milan-based Corriere della Sera newspaper is reporting on Wednesday.

Milan public prosecutor Carlo Nocerino plans to summon Inter's Massimo Moratti and Milan's Adriano Galliani for questioning in the investigation into possible balance sheet irregularities, the source told Reauters news agency.

The prosecutor is investigating whether clubs manipulated their balance sheets by inflating the prices of players they bought and sold by immediately recording capital gains but spreading out costs over a period of years.

In Italy, being placed under investigation does not indicate guilt and does not necessarily lead to criminal charges.

The ANSA news agency said that the investigation is almost finished.

The prosecutor could not be immediately reached and his office declined comment on the report.

"It is right that the prosecutor's office opens and looks at these matters,'' Moratti said. "We're calm. We will justify everything.''

The newspaper said that Inter had promised to present "technical arguments'' to the investigation that will clear the club.

Galliani also denied wrongdoing. "We maintain that we haven't committed any crime,'' Galliani was quoted as saying by ANSA. "I don't believe that any of us are guilty of false bookkeeping. We're still talking about soccer and I believe that the clubs are free in their valuations of players.''

Milan's public prosecutor has questioned whether Inter could have passed the financial tests required to take part in the 2004-05 Serie A season without improperly adjusting its accounts.

Nocerino intends to hand his findings to the Italian Football Federation, which could then decide whether to open its own investigation, the judicial source said.

Last September, Rome magistrates called for the president of Roma, Franco Sensi, and the former president of Lazio, Sergio Cragnotti, to stand trial for false accounting. Both men denied the accusations.

Other investigations into false accounting in Italian football are under way in Genoa and Turin.

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