AC Milan's owner says nothing illegal in deal with Berlusconi

Reuters , Tuesday 16 Jan 2018

 AC Milan's president said on Tuesday his purchase of the soccer club from former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi was conducted legally and transparently after a finance police report indicated potentially suspicious elements in the deal.

"All procedures were observed with total respect for the applicable laws and practices," the club's Chinese president Li Yonghong said in a statement in reference to the acquisition, which was completed last year.

"What I have read in recent days does not reflect in any way the truth of the matter," he added.

A police report on the transaction contained indications of suspicious operations known by the acronym "SOS" in Italian, sources told Reuters on Monday. Berlusconi's holding company, Fininvest, which sold the club, declined to comment.

Milan's chief prosecutor denied a report in Italian newspapers La Stampa and Il Secolo XIX on Saturday which said his office had opened an investigation into alleged money laundering during the sale.

Berlusconi, who leads the biggest political party on Italy's centre-right, also denied that report.

The four-times prime minister sold the club last April for 740 million euros ($907.76 million) and stepped down from the position of president which he had held for more than 30 years.

An alliance around Berlusconi's party is leading in opinion polls ahead of a March 4 election.

The former prime minister, who has repeatedly faced judicial investigations into his business empire and is currently barred from taking office due to a tax fraud conviction, accuses magistrates of leading politically motivated campaigns against him.

Short link: