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Investigation into Juventus transfer deal with Udinese raises eyebrows

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Authorities are looking closely at Juventus’ transfer of Rolando Mandragora to Udinese in 2018, examining potential financial irregularities. The transfer is part of ongoing investigations into suspicious dealings in football, according to Calcio Finanza.

The Udine Public Prosecutor’s Office is specifically examining the 2018 deal that saw Mandragora move from Juventus to Udinese for €20 million. The player is now with Fiorentina, having been acquired by the club from Juventus in the summer of 2022 for €8.2 million plus a €1 million bonus.

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Investigators are considering three potential offenses: false accounting, obstruction of supervisory authority functions, and fraudulent declaration through falsified documents. The inquiry is still in its early stages.

The Perugia Guardia di Finanza, the economic and financial police, conducted searches at Udinese’s headquarters on November 3, shedding light on the probe into alleged financial irregularities reported in the balance sheets of several sports companies.

The investigation, which began in Turin, extended to other cities hosting involved teams, including Genoa, Bergamo, Modena, and Cagliari. In Bologna, the investigation related to the Orsolini deal was closed, and the main focus shifted from Turin to Rome.

The decree notifying Udinese President Franco Soldati, Vice President Stefano Campoccia, and the club itself as under investigation has been issued. The prosecutor alleges that Udinese, with the consent of Juventus executives, falsely recorded significant events in its June 30, 2009 balance sheet.

The accusation centers on the inclusion of €20 million in tangible assets related to Mandragora’s sporting rights acquisition, deemed inaccurate. Additionally, depreciation expenses related to the player were recorded, allegedly inaccurately.

The investigators assert that the clubs’ agreement did not follow the standard “buy-back” arrangement but obligated Juventus irrevocably to exercise the option to repurchase Mandragora permanently from the 2020/2021 season. This agreement was fulfilled, with Juventus paying €20 million.

The investigation also explores potential tax evasion, as Udinese claimed deductions for depreciation expenses totaling €6.6 million related to Mandragora’s sale in its tax return filed on March 31, 2020. Prosecutors argue that considering the economic nullification of the operation, these would be fictitious liabilities, leading to evaded taxes of almost €1.6 million.

The Prosecutor of Udine, Massimo Lia, stated that the investigation aims to understand how the operation was handled financially and determine if any crimes should be charged. Defense attorney Maurizio Conti, representing Soldati, is confident in the legality of the deal. Udinese has yet to make an official statement on the matter.

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