Another day, another Italian corruption scandal

Eleven former Parma players have today been accused of conspiring in fraudulent bankruptcy, following investigations into the accounts of Parmalat, the dairy industry giant that filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

The players are well known to football fans around the world and include former Leeds man Thomas Brolin, Newcastle glory Faustino Asprilia, former European Footballer of the year Hristo Stoichkov, World and European champions Lillian Thuram and former Chelsea duo Hernan Crespo and Juan Sebastian Veron as well as Enrico Chiesa, Luigi Apolloni, Massimo Crippa, Lorenzo Minotti and Dino Baggio.

The ten years spell between 1992 and 2002, saw Parma rose to success in Italy and Europe, winning eight trophies and reaching their best ever league finish – as runners up in the 1996-97 season.

The players are accused of conspiring with former Parma’s owner Calisto Tanzi and Domenico Barilli (the man in charge of players’ sponsorship contracts during Tanzi’s years in charge).

According to the prosecutors, the players received bonuses on top of their wages, with funds coming from Parmalat’s accounts, allowing Tanzi to evade taxes for around €10 million (£8.5 million).

The process would see players sign fictitious contracts to promote Parmalat’s brand and products, with false invoices filed and subsequently paid by with Parmalat’s funds.

Veron is apparently credited with pocketing around €5.5 million (£4.6 million) with Asprillia and Crespo getting €4.4 million (£3.7 million) and €2million (£1.7 million) respectively, while Stoichkov and Thuram were the alleged beneficiaries of bonuses worth €550k (£460k) and €960k (£813k).

The investigation continues and could soon include other teams that conducted transfer business with Parma during those ten years.

Daniele Cancian @MUFC_dan87

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