Mafia in the Association of Referees, resignations in Juventus and half a league under investigation. What happened in Serie A during the World Cup
Serie A is able to break into the tapes even in the middle of the World Cup. The news of the resignation of Agnelli and Nedved briefly overshadowed the Qatari dramas, and it is not surprising: Juve ended the next cycle with an epic shake-up – the whole continent shook.
But that’s not all that’s happened over the past month. This is not even the most unexpected and strange.
Juve was left without bosses – Agnelli, Nedved and Arrivabene resigned. They are all under investigation.
On November 28, Juve captured the headlines: the board of directors announced their resignation. President Andrea Agnelli, Vice President Pavel Nedved, CEO Maurizio Arrivabene and 7 other top managers left.
The recusal immediately spawned a lot of rumors, and Agnelli’s vague message further confused: “Winning is in the DNA of Juve. But we are faced with a subtle corporate situation. There was no unity between us anymore. We’re leaving so that the new leadership can make a difference.”
In fact, the resignation is not necessarily related to the capital gains investigation, as the Italian media suggested. But the next few days were overshadowed even by the news of the resignation – the prosecutor’s office got down to business. There was a noise. It was reported that Agnelli and his accomplices had already been issued arrest warrants, that Juve was threatened with expulsion to Serie B, that all the former bosses would be imprisoned.
A lot of even bigger nonsense got into the tapes, but you should not believe them. Here’s what’s happened so far:
- Wiretapping plumes got into the newspapers – it is on them that the prosecutor’s office focuses;
- The Football Federation has already acquitted the residents of Turin in this case, but with the advent of wiretapping, they are not averse to reviewing the spring acquittal – that is, resuming the case in the sports court. But she has to prove that there are reasons for this;
- UEFA has also joined in and is studying violations. But the scale of violations is not so great as to be excluded from European competition if the organization does not correct its own rules;
- Agnelli beats the investigators every round – even in the noisy emotional Italy, they are already coming to the conclusion that the prosecution has little chance;
- The preliminary hearings will take place on January 20.
The next text will cover the topic in detail. In the meantime, the two previous articles are useful for orientation:
1. “We will demand that Juventus be moved to Serie B.” Ronaldo’s gray salary, false bookkeeping and wiretapping – what’s going on in Italy? – last year’s text on the start of an investigation and its real risks;
2. The prosecutor demanded the arrest of Agnelli and all the money of Juventus due to financial fraud. How will it all end ? – October text, where we warned, among other things, that by the end of November there would be a noise.
The owner of Juventus is suing his mother. She says her son cheated on her for money.
In early November, 67-year-old Margherita Agnelli filed a lawsuit against her children John, Lapo and Ginevra Elkann. She says they cheated on the division of her father’s inheritance, Gianni.
Here’s the backstory.
Juventus is owned by the Agnelli family. They are the uncrowned rulers of Italy, men of great wealth and even greater power. But like all ancient dynasties, they are not united and heterogeneous. There are more than 100 people in the clan with different shares and two centers of gravity of power – the branch of Gianni Agnelli and the descendants of his brother Umberto.
Umberto and Gianni ruled the family for more than 50 years – the entire second half of the twentieth century. For the most part, the brothers were like one (which, however, did not prevent Umberto from consistently increasing power from the beginning of the 90s and strongly pressing Gianni in Juventus and FIAT). Their descendants are another matter. Umberto branch united around his son – Andrea Agnelli. Gianni branch – around John Elkann, the formal leader of the clan as the heir to its former head.
John’s vulnerability is that he is not the direct heir. He is the grandson, not the son of Gianni. The only direct descendant of the great Gianni (both now and at the time of his death) is his daughter Margherita Agnelli.
Gianni Agnelli died in 2003. A year later, his only heiress Margherita transferred the rights to her mother Marella in exchange for $1.3 billion. Marella concentrated her assets in the small company Dicembre and passed it on to her three grandchildren, John, Lapo and Ginevra Elkann. These are Margherita’s children from her first marriage. Five children from a second marriage (with a descendant of Russian nobles, Count De Palen) had nothing left – Marella did not like her son-in-law.
Three years later, Margherita sued Marella and three of her father’s advisors. According to her, at the conclusion of the contract, most of the inheritance was hidden from her. Margherita lost that trial, but subsequently the Geneva court confirmed that Gianni brilliantly evaded taxes and hid a huge reserve offshore. This was the reason for today’s lawsuit. Margherita demands the cancellation of the agreement on the transfer of rights, signed in 2004, and the revision of the inheritance in her favor.
What kind of money is involved, it is not known exactly. The clan dislikes Forbes ratings and keeps their wealth a secret. The last reliable estimate was made in 2003, when Gianni’s inheritance was calculated. According to Oggi magazine, 19 years ago, the family’s assets exceeded 100 billion euros. Based on an average annual revaluation of 2%, Agnelli’s fortune today exceeds 150 billion euros.
The branch of Gianni Agnelli owns a little more than a third (that is, more than 50 billion euros), but the direct heiress received only 1.3 billion. This did not suit her. In addition, she is interested in her father’s unrecorded offshore reserve. The leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which happened six years ago, revealed part of the hidden capital – 15 billion unaccounted for offshore (with it the family’s fortune grows to at least 165 billion).
The history of the merged billions is also remarkable. During the First and Second World Wars, FIAT made huge profits. She was called “the gold of the senator”, legends were added, but they were never seen – the money was considered lost. The Panama plum revealed what became of them. Of course, they didn’t go anywhere – Gianni Agnelli didn’t let the profit out of his hands. In 1945, he received 15 billion in gold (138 tons) and works of art, took him out of his father’s mansion and hid in the free port of Geneva Airport.
Margherita Agnelli claims both this money and the main inheritance. Preliminary hearings have already taken place. The Elkanns’ lawyers argue that the mother has no chance, but there is still a small one. If Margherita proves that her mother lived permanently in Italy, the 2004 contract will be canceled – it belongs to Swiss jurisdiction. The succession will be reviewed in accordance with the more loyal Italian law.
If the mother wins, John Elkann will lose most of his money and power. Margherita hoped that with the death of her father, her husband Serge De Pahlen, who by that time had risen high in the family empire, would take the throne. John fired him as soon as he took the throne. And then he cut off the entire branch of the De Palens from the huge inheritance – that is, he squeezed out five half-sisters and brothers.
Margherita has not spoken to her son for more than 15 years. She did not come to his wedding, refused to baptize her grandson. If she gets the rights back, Elkann will have a hard time. But it’s unlikely to happen.
The prosecutor demanded a prison term for Galliani and the president of Napoli. They are accused of fraudulent accounts.
You are not so naive as to think that only Juventus is messing up, are you?
The Neapolitan prosecutor’s office completed a 9-year investigation and in November finally filed charges against its defendants. Investigators claim that several Italian bigwigs (managers and agents) have created an uninterrupted mechanism for gray earnings. The idea was simple. At the conclusion of the contract, the agents were indicated by the consultants of the buying club, and not by the representatives of the football player – accordingly, the parties avoided restrictions on agency payments and moved millions to personal accounts. They did this for 5 years – from 2009 to 2014.
Now they are accused of creating fictitious accounts and fraudulent transactions. Prosecutors demanded 13 months in prison for then Milan CEO Adriano Galliani, 12 months for Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis and 32 months for agent Alessandro Moggi (Luciano’s son).
The bosses of Atalanta, Fiorentina (former) and Lazio are also involved in the case. Their prosecutor’s office asks to justify. Like all the players involved in the case (for example, Lavezzi) – according to the investigation, they did not know what they were signing.
The Judges Association prosecutor turned out to be a drug dealer named Rambo. He was responsible for the purity of refereeing
When the whole world was looking forward to the imminent start of the World Cup, the Italian police, together with Eurojust and Europol, covered the international gang. The police arrested 42 people – Spaniards, Italians, Albanians. Some are associated with the Apulian mafia (the smallest, fourth largest, among Italian organizations). They were accused of importing 6 tons of marijuana and hashish and taken with evidence – 500 kilograms of drugs and 1,000 hemp vape refills.
Among those arrested is the chief prosecutor of the Association of Referees of Italy (talking about football referees) Rosario D’Onofrio.
This story is beautiful already because the person responsible for the cleanliness and incorruptibility of the referee in Serie A is accused of organizing a drug business and has long been known in criminal circles under the nickname Rambo. But it would not be Italian if the absurdity in it had not reached its limit.
When Rosario D’Onofrio got a job as a prosecutor, he was already a convicted felon and was serving a 2-year sentence (it expired in September 2022). How he calmly traveled around the country and came to meetings while under house arrest, no one knows. Why the personnel officers did not break through his biography is also unclear. The prosecutor’s office with such a resume is not taken. D’Onofrio corrected the data, but it still needed to be checked.
In other words, the drug dealer showed up for an interview, got a job that required a clean criminal record, and held a supervisory legal position traveling around the country while under 2 years of house arrest for previous crimes. But that’s not all. It turned out that the investigation twice officially allowed him to leave the apartment. Both times – for the treatment of gambling addiction.
So, a recidivist drug dealer with a gambling addiction made sure that Serie A referees did not sell matches or contact bookmakers. It’s a matter of life. D’Onofrio, however, did not bother himself with work. When a couple of thousand unread files piled up in his work email, Vice President of the National Disciplinary Commission (the oversight body for the Football Federation) Andrea Santoni prepared a document on the inadequacy of the position – but he received a call and was politely asked to suffer from electoral dumbness.
D’Onofrio was arrested, the head of the Association, Alfredo Trentalange, was fired and is also likely to be under investigation, the judicial office was destroyed – they are digging for everyone.
Lotito pushed through a useful law that will make life easier for Serie A clubs
A little more positivity.
In recent years, Italian clubs have accumulated €899m in tax debts (€500m in Serie A). During the pandemic, they received a reprieve that had just expired and threatened to sink half the league. But it won’t sink. Lazio owner Claudio Lotito has resolved the issue.
A week ago , the genius of behind-the-scenes intrigues pushed through a decree in the Senate to save football. How he persuaded the others, no one has yet understood, but Senator and former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has already called Lotito a fraud just in case. Clubs have received a new reprieve and will no longer weaken in sales, hastily carving out rent for the state, but will stretch payments over 5 years and 60 small parts.