Real Madrid’s Modric charged with perjury

04Mar 2018
Guardian On Sunday
Real Madrid’s Modric charged with perjury

Croatian authorities have charged the captain of the national football team, Luka Modric, with perjury.

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric could face up to five years in prison

The Real Madrid midfielder is suspected of making false statements at the tax fraud trial of Zdravko Mamic, a former executive director at Dinamo Zagreb.

Prosecutors say Mr Modric, 32, made a false statement in June 2017 over details of his transfer from Dinamo to English club Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

If found guilty of perjury, Mr Modric could face up to five years in prison.

Mr Mamic, a powerful figure in Croatian football, was a senior official at Dinamo Zagreb when Mr Modric played for the club, which is the most successful in the Croatian league.

Cash is said to have been embezzled via deals where Mr Mamic, his brother Zoran and two others took a cut from the sales of players.

They are accused of corruption that reportedly cost Dinamo Zagreb more than €15m (£13.1m; $16.7m), and the state €1.5m.

Prosecutors did not name Mr Modric as the defendant but identified him as a "Croatian citizen born in 1985", in line with Croatian law.

Croatian media identified the defendant as Mr Modric.

Mr Modric testified in June 2017 about his £16.5m transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham in 2008.

The perjury charge hinges on exactly when he signed an annex to his contract with Dinamo, setting out the terms for future transfer fees.

According to prosecutors at a tribunal on 13 June, Mr Modric falsely said he had signed it in July 2004.

Prosecutors say the annex - which allowed Mr Modric to receive half the transfer fee - was actually signed in 2008 when he had already left the club.

Prosecutors also say Mr Modric told investigators in 2015 that the annex had been signed when he had already been sold to Tottenham.

The state attorney's office believes the player changed his testimony in favour of Mr Mamic.

The June 2017 trial, at which Mr Modric gave evidence, attracted huge media interest in Croatia. AGENCIES

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