Modric and Lovren face new Croatian trial over transfer fraud

July 3 – Two of Croatia’s biggest stars, Real Madrid’s veteran midfielder Luka Modric and former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, have been charged for a second time in their homeland for allegedly giving false testimony about financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director who was sentenced for embezzlement and tax fraud.

Zdravko Mamic was found guilty in 2018 on several charges including making illegal profits on player transfers, notably the deals that took Modric to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 and Lovren to Lyon in 2010.

Mamic and the three others were found guilty of charges reportedly cost Dinamo more than €15 million, and the state €1.5 million. Mamic was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison, but fled to Bosnia before the guilty verdict was announced.

Modric and Lovren appeared in 2017 as witnesses during the multi-million-euro corruption trial, providing details of their transfers from Zagreb.

They were charged with committing perjury and failing to declare taxes but a Croatian court lifted the accusations on the eve of the 2018 World Cup when Croatia reached the final.

The court ruled at the time that there was not enough evidence against the pair but Croatia’s public prosecutors claim there is now and that Modric and Lovren falsely testified during the original trial.

If found guilty, both players could face between six months and five years in prison. No trial date has yet been set.

The Croatian Football Federation (HNS) said that it will fully support the players in the upcoming trial.

HNS said in a statement: “The Croatian Football Federation has received information that the Municipal State Attorney’s Office in Osijek has filed charges against the captain of the Croatian national football team, Luka Modrić, and long-time member of the national team, Dejan Lovren. The Croatian Football Federation fully respects the independence of judicial bodies, and we expect them to be equally fair in their actions towards all citizens of the Republic of Croatia, regardless of their first and last name.”

“As winners of silver and bronze medals at the FIFA world championships, players and human leaders of the team that made Croatian football and the country famous, Luka Modrić and Dejan Lovren do not deserve special treatment from the Croatian judiciary. However, they deserve a fair and equal relationship and legal certainty. Therefore, the Croatian Football Association fully supports Luka Modrić and Dejan Lovren, and we will be available to assist the two legendary players during the process.”

Contact the writers of this story at moc.l1716630732labto1716630732ofdlr1716630732owedi1716630732sni@w1716630732ahsra1716630732w.wer1716630732dnA1716630732, or Aleksander Krassimirov, at moc.l1716630732labto1716630732ofdlr1716630732owedi1716630732sni@o1716630732fni1716630732