According to a report by Bloomberg, backed up by Reuters, Italian financial police have begun informally investigating the sale of AC Milan by Silvio Berlusconi to a pair of Chinese businessmen, including Yonghong Li.
The sale was completed from Berlusconi’s company Finivest to Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux back in April for a reported $907 million, and now Italy’s Guardia di Finanza have opened preliminary investigative proceedings to determine whether formal charges should be brought against the parties. The report states they are investigating whether the sale was used to mask “illicit cash flows.” The sale reportedly included around $270 million of debt.
According to the Reuters report, while no official investigation has been opened yet, a 10-page document was delivered to the prosecutor’s office near the end of December. The report most likely contains flags raised by the banks as to the transactions, which they are required to submit if there is “reasonable cause to suspect” financial crimes. The Bank of Italy compiles those complaints and submits them to the Guardia di Finanza.
This news was initially reported by a pair of Italian papers on January 13th, to which Berlusconi responded in a statement, “The falsification made today by two newspapers — La Stampa and Il Secolo XIX — leaves us indignant and astonished for its severity.”
Bloomberg states the proceedings by the Guardia di Finanza are at this stage “routine…reviews of cross-border transactions.”
Former AC Milan striker George Weah has won the presidency of his native country Liberia, after receiving over 61 percent of the vote on Thursday.
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The 51-year-old succeeds former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — who was Africa’s first female head of state while in office.
Weah played for nearly two decades during his professional soccer career, which ranged from playing in Liberia with Mighty Barrolle to spending time with European giants like Monaco and Milan.
Weah’s son, Timothy, currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain’s academy and was a member of the United States Under-17 national team at 2017 U-17 World Cup.
Spanish side Sevilla confirmed Thursday that they were set to hire Italian manager Vincenzo Montella after coming to an agreement with AC Milan to terminate his contract.
Montella was fired as AC Milan boss in late November, but is still technically under contract until June 2019. Sevilla announced that AC Milan would terminate his contract, and he agreed a 2-year deal with the Spanish club through the same time as his old deal in Italy, which will be signed on Friday.
The 43-year-old was hired at AC Milan from Sampdoria as the Italian giants continued their desperate attempt to return to former glory. Instead, they finished the 2016/17 season in 6th, 28 points back of champions Juventus. The doldrums continued this season, with the club currently all the way down in 11th. Montella was fired after a 0-0 draw at home against Torino, with the club in 7th. In the five matches since he was dismissed, AC Milan has won just once.
Sevilla sacked Eduardo Berizzo just days before Christmas, and only days after Berizzo had returned from a battle with cancer. Sevilla currently sits in fifth in the La Liga table, two points back of Real Madrid. However, the club had gone four matches without a win. The Spanish side is still looking to adequately replace Jorge Sampaoli who left in the summer to take charge of Argentina. Fellow Italian Walter Mazzerri also reportedly interviewed for the position before Montella was chosen.
According to reports, Montella will employ former Sevilla midfielder Enzo Maresca as his assistant manager. Maresca is just 37 years old and only stopped playing in January 2017 when he was released by Hellas Verona. He has been assistant manager of Serie B side Ascoli Picchio since June.
A Milan Derby heading to extra time? That’s what we saw Wednesday in the Italian Cup, and Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan was the happier for it.
Patrick Cutrone knifed home Suso’s pass in the 104th minute, and Gianluigi Donnarumma made a number of fine saves as AC Milan advanced with a 1-0 quarterfinal win.
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The goal meant everything to the soon-to-be 20-year-old, who couldn’t hold in his emotions. Cutrone joined the Milan academy at age 8, so this one’s special for him.
“I can’t believe it because it feels like I was playing with the primavera yesterday, scoring in the derbies and celebrating in the same way. Tonight I do it in front of a full San Siro”
Milan spent a lot this summer and has muddled its way through the Serie A season. Could this win transform their league form, too?
A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…
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Barcelona 4-0 Deportivo
Although Lionel Messi’s stardom was rewarded prior to the match at the Camp Nou with the European Golden Shoe, the Argentine forward couldn’t crack the scoresheet one the game kicked off. That didn’t matter though, as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each bagged braces on the day to keep Barcelona six points clear of Atletico Madrid on Sunday. Messi, who had a penalty kick attempt saved in the second half, came close on several occasions, but couldn’t find the scoring touch for the Blaugrana.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Girona 1-0 Getafe
Celta Vigo 0-1 Villareal
Las Palmas 2-2 Espanyol
Hellas Verona 3-0 AC Milan
If AC Milan’s season wasn’t bad enough prior to Sunday, today’s performance at the Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi could have only made the club’s outlook much, much worse. Hellas captured its third league win of the season, however, the team remains in 19th in Serie A despite picking up three points. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri fell to eight in Italy’s top flight, after Genaro Gattuso’s men were completely outplayed on the road. To make matters worse for the struggling side, Suso earned a straight red card in the dying minutes, leaving Milan to fend with 10 men.
Bologna 0-3 Juventus
At the top of Serie A, things are getting very intriguing as the season nears its halfway point. Juventus did its part to keep pressure on league leaders Napoli, but four teams currently sit within four points of one another at the league’s summit, making for a testy title race. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic each scored before halftime, giving the Bianconeri a comfortable lead before the break. Meanwhile, ex-PSG man Blaise Matuidi capped off the game’s scoring in the 64th minute.
Sunday’s Serie A schedule
Atalanta 3-3 Lazio
Benevento 1-2 SPAL
Sampdoria 0-1 Sassuolo
Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa
Crotone 1-0 Chievo Verona