Police arrest 7 after mafia clan tries to buy Italian soccer team
ROME ” Italian police arrested seven people Tuesday in a crackdown on an organized crime group that tried to buy Lazio football club with laundered money.
Three people were still at large in a probe that targeted nine Italians and a Hungarian, who tried to acquire the club through money coming from the illicit activities of the Casalesi clan, a group of the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate, Rome police said in a statement.
Among those still being sought was former Italy and New York Cosmos striker Giorgio Chinaglia, who is believed to have fled to the United States two years ago when authorities first ordered his arrest on charges of extortion and insider trading at Lazio, police official Gianluca Campana said.
Chinaglia, who helped Lazio win its first Italian title in 1974 and later became the club’s president, is accused of trying to influence the price of Lazio shares, prosecutors said in 2006.
He allegedly tried to oust current club president Claudio Lotito by falsely claiming that there was a Hungarian investment group interested in buying a controlling stake in the club.
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Lazio shares are traded on the Milan stock exchange.
At the time, Chinaglia gave interviews to Italian media denying any wrongdoing. Tuesday’s arrest warrant adds a charge of money laundering to the previous accusations.
Police said the investigation that stemmed from the 2006 probe, and culminated in the latest arrests, showed that the money for the planned takeover came from Casalesi mobsters who tried to launder it through transfers to foreign banks.