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Berlusconi’s AC Milan sale being investigated by Italian authorities

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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.”

AC Milan sale delayed again

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MILAN (AP) The sale of AC Milan to a group of Chinese investors was again delayed on Friday.

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The completion of the deal was originally scheduled for December, but Silvio Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest and Sino-Europe Sports agreed to a three-month delay, postponing the closing to Friday.

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“Conditions of the contract have not been met so the closing cannot happen today as initially planned,” Milan vice president Adriano Galliani said at a shareholders’ meeting.

“Fininvest points out, however, that it is evaluating the possibility of drawing up an agreement to give up its ownership of AC Milan soon.”

The new date is expected to be March 31.

The deal with Sino-Europe values Milan at 740 million euros (about $800 million). The investors have already paid 200 million euros as a deposit.

Berlusconi, who purchased Milan 31 years ago, has been negotiating for more than a year to sell the Serie A club.

Giuseppe Scala, representing those with smaller stakes in the club, accused Fininvest of not being transparent and demanded more clarity from the club.

Galliani responded by saying he worked for Milan, not Fininvest.

“Why should I feel like I’m being taken for a fool?” Galliani asked. “There’s nothing that doesn’t work, corporate life continues as normal and calm, salaries are paid.

“The deal between potential vendors and potential buyers is between Fininvest and SES. They can give answers, not the managing director of Milan. With all the goodwill, I can’t respond to questions on where we are, what will happen, what will be AC Milan’s future, because I don’t know. If Milan will or will not be sold does not depend on me.”

Berlusconi signs deal to sell full AC Milan stake

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MILAN (AP) Silvio Berlusconi has signed a deal to sell his full majority stake in Italian club AC Milan to Chinese investors.

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Berlusconi’s Fininvest investment arm said Friday that the deal with a Chinese investment group values the club at 740 million euros (around $820 million) and requires the investors to spend 350 million euros over three years on improvements.

Berlusconi owns 99.93 percent of the club, which has been European champion seven times.

Fininvest said Berlusconi’s goal in negotiating the sale was `’to provide AC Milan, through an appropriate ownership structure, with greater financial resources now more essential for competing with the top football clubs of the world.”

Historically one of the Serie A’s most successful teams, AC Milan finished last season in seventh place.

The Chinese investors operate through the management company Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing Co. Ltd.

Mario Balotelli racially abused again, this time by AC Milan owner

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Mario Balotelli has been the target of racist comments and actions on a number of occasions throughout his career, so it probably comes as no surprise to hear that it’s happened yet again, which is truly sad.

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However, you might be surprised to hear that this time the abuser is the owner of AC Milan, the club for which Balotelli currently plays while on loan from Liverpool, but that would only mean you’ve never heard the name Silvio Berlusconi. For that, you would be very lucky.

Berlusconi, a lifelong politician and owner of AC Milan since 1986, is no stranger to being a racist and proudly sharing his despicable opinions publicly.

Earlier this season, Berlusconi inserted clauses into Balotelli’s contract that prevent the 25-year-old — a fully-grown adult man — from having “extravagant haircuts,” wearing “outrageous clothes” and visiting nightclubs. This was also interpreted by some as racist, considering Balotelli is the only player at the club to have such restrictions placed upon him.

Don’t count on the Italian football authorities to come down too hard on Berlusconi, as they’ve rarely, if ever, done so throughout his 30-year reign of racism.

Report: Berlusconi agrees sale of AC Milan to group of Chinese investors for $1 billion

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AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly agreed a deal to sell 75 percent of his ownership stake in the 18-time Serie A-winning club to a group of Chinese investors, rumored to be heavily involved with the Chinese government, according to a report by AskaNews.

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The sale will net Berlusconi, who reportedly said it was a “done deal” during a private event on Tuesday night, more than $1 billion.

Berlusconi’s majority share of the club has reportedly been on the market for quite some time now, though the 78-year-old and business partners have repeatedly refuted these reports.

The prospective ownership group’s link to the Chinese government is a slippery one, at best, as “AskaNews believes that the Chinese government is playing a large role in the operation, in order to promote football in the country, with the long-term aim of making the national team a major world power.”

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Milan, which currently sits in eighth place in Serie A, 14 points off the third and final UEFA Champions League place, hasn’t seen serious financial investment in the shape of new players for almost five years now, with the above conjecture signaling that may not be set to change anytime soon.

This particular sale would mean that both Milan clubs are to be under Asian ownership after Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir bought a 70 percent stake in Inter Milan in November 2013.