Italy’s financial police files reports on AC Milan takeover

Possible suspicious activity in sale of the soccer club by Berlusconi to Chinese businessman

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi  on  a TV talk show in Rome last week. Photograph: Reuters/Remo Casilli

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on a TV talk show in Rome last week. Photograph: Reuters/Remo Casilli

 

Italy’s financial police have filed reports about possible suspicious activity regarding the sale of the AC Milan soccer club by Silvio Berlusconi’s investment company to a Chinese businessman last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The filings by Italy’s Guardia di Finanza were sent to the Milan prosecutor’s office in December, said one of the people. The documents, which have not been made public, are the result of routine Bank of Italy and financial police reviews of cross-border transactions.

The prosecutor’s office then determines whether a formal investigation should be opened.

Milan chief prosecutor Francesco Greco said that “there are no penal procedures underway on the sale of AC Milan,” news agency Ansa reported on Saturday last.

A Guardia di Finanza spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted on Monday by Bloomberg News. A representative for the Berlusconi family investment company, Fininvest SpA, had no comment on the issue.

On Saturday, Italian daily La Stampa said prosecutors are looking into whether the club used the sale to hide illicit cash flows. The team was sold to a group of Chinese investors including Haixia Capital and Yonghong Li for €740 million, including about €220 million of debt, Fininvest said at the time.

Berlusconi’s lawyer, Niccolo Ghedini, also denied the investigation reports in La Stampa and Il Secolo XIX on Saturday, citing them as groundless and defamatory.

- Bloomberg