February 27 – On the second day of his high-profile trial, Sandro Rosell, the former Barcelona president who is accused of money laundering related to television rights and sponsorship of the Brazilian team, denied any wrongdoing but spoke only through his lawyer.
Spanish press reports said Rosell, a former Nike executive in Brazil who presided over Barcelona from 2010-14, refused to answer any questions directly from the Prosecutor’s Office arguing his indictment was “full of errors and falsehoods”.
However, he did answer questions raised by his lawyer Pau Molins, with whom he tried to relate his version of the facts.
The case centres on a deal signed by Ricardo Teixeira, the former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation, in 2006 with a company based in the Cayman Islands for the television rights to 24 Brazil friendly matches.
Prosecutors say Rosell helped launder nearly €20 million related to commissions for Brazil matches during Teixeira’s tenure. He is also charged with forming part of a criminal organisation.
Teixeira, a former FIFA executive committee member, was indicted by US authorities in 2015 as part of the FIFAGate scandal but has never been brought to trial.
“I didn’t receive any commissions, neither legal nor illegal,” Rosell declared while stressing that Teixeira didn’t demand any payments.
Rosell, once one of the most influential officials in European football when head of the European Clubs Association, explained how everything became more difficult for him when he stood for election at Barcelona.
“They warned me that a persecution against me would begin then,” he was quoted as saying, claiming that was why he decided to sell his sports marketing company. “Until then, I had never been in a court, never had any inspection from the Treasury, never received any Prosecutor’s warning.
“Then they warned me that they would press me hard and that person was not only right about that but everything that happened thereafter, which has been incredible.”
He also denied having a large fortune abroad, something which had allegedly made him a flight risk.
“All of my assets are in Spain, except for 50% of an apartment I have in Andorra,” he claimed.
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