By Matt Scott
August 7 – Only a week before UEFA’s most senior officials decamp to Athens for their presidential elections, the owner of Greece’s most successful club reportedly faces a battle to avoid custody over match fixing allegations.
According to as-yet-unconfirmed reports in the respected Greek newspaper To Vima (‘The Step’), the prosecutor in the case has called for the Olympiacos owner, Evangelos Marinakis (pictured), to be detained until the start of the trial into the criminal charges he faces.
The report comes after the Athens courts’ appeals prosecutor, Stamatis Daskalopoulos, allegedly called for the current restrictions placed on him under his bail conditions to be upgraded to remand.
Among the existing restrictions is a ban on Marinakis’s involvement in all football activity. However, shortly after that was imposed last year he was seen at the draw for the 2015-16 season UEFA Champions League.
According to separate reports, Daskalopoulos expressed concerns that Marinakis was in “clear defiance of the legal system which involves the danger of [him] committing further offences.”
If the courts uphold Daskalopoulos’s reported appeal and place Marinakis in custody, it would be a major intensification of the case against the shipping magnate.
As revealed in Insideworldfootball in April 2015, Marinakis faces felony charges includng directing a criminal organisation, fraud, extortion, and bribery.
Alongside several of the most senior former officials of the Hellenic Football Federation, Marinakis is accused of controlling Greek football through a network of referees and the owners and executives of compliant Super League clubs.
The long-running case against the Olympiacos owner has caused a huge rift in Greek football. Greece’s other top clubs AEK Athens, PAOK Salonika and Panathinaikos refused to ratify the list of referees compiled by the HFF and their boycott has led to the formal postponement of the start of the Greek Super League season.
Yet UEFA will travel to this football vacuum in Athens next week to hold its presidential elections.
The reported demand for Marinakis’s remand to custody will be a matter of particular public interest given that UEFA’s Acting General Secretary, Theodore Theodoridis, is the son of Marinakis’s right-hand-man at Olympiacos, the club’s senior vice-president, Savvas Theodoridis.
Theodoridis Jnr appears in the transcript of a taped telephone conversation he and his father held with Marinakis that is in the prosecution file in the case.
Despite winning their sixth successive Super League title and their 11th in the past 12 seasons, Olympiacos failed to qualify for this month’s Champions League group stages.
Meanwhile, in recent months Marinakis has also been bidding to take over the former double European champion Nottingham Forest but has so far failed to secure regulatory approvals from the English Football League.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org