SERIE A: ITALIAN JUSTICE OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO VICTOR OSIMHEN’S TRANSFER TO NAPOLI FROM LOSC
It is a new twist in the transfer of Victor Osimhen, arrived in the summer of 2020 in Napoli from LOSC. This Tuesday, the Italian justice opened an investigation into possible accounting fraud of the Italian club, learned AFP Tuesday from judicial sources. The Neapolitan president Aurelio De Laurentiis is particularly targeted.
Searches took place this Tuesday in the offices of Napoli, in Castel Volturno and Rome, “to collect useful documents in relation to alleged illegal behavior related to the sale and purchase of some players in the summer of 2020,” including that of Victor Osimhen, said the Prosecutor’s Office of Naples in a statement. The Neapolitan president Aurelio De Laurentiis is notably targeted by this investigation, said several Italian media.
The prosecutor’s office said that the searches conducted in Italy respond to requests from the Italian and French judicial authorities. The Lille club had also been the subject of a search in the Osimhen case in May. The Nigerian striker joined Napoli in 2020 in a transfer estimated at around 70 million euros. But Napoli lowered the bill by selling the French club four players for a total of about 20 million euros. This sum was considered by the press to be greatly overvalued given the profile of the players in question, three of whom have never actually played for Lille.
In April, the Italian club’s lawyer had defended the “sincerity of the operation” Osimhen on the sidelines of another procedure, launched by the Italian sports justice against a dozen clubs for alleged accounting fraud. All of these clubs were acquitted in the sports section. “We have highlighted the sincerity of the operation, demonstrating how the value of Osimhen, and the four players transferred from Napoli to Lille, was determined on the basis of considerations of a technical nature,” had assured the lawyer Mattia Grassani to the Corriere dello Sport.
Of the four players purchased by the Dogues, only the Greek goalkeeper Oréstis Karnézis (36) has actually joined the Lille squad. However, he played only one game, in March 2021, until the termination of his contract announced on May 30 by LOSC. The other three, Italian striker Ciro Palmieri (22), Italian winger Luigi Liguori (24) and central defender Claudio Manzi (22), were immediately loaned and then sold. They were playing last season in the 3rd or 4th division in Italy.
One of them, Luigi Liguori, admitted last December in the daily La Repubblica that he “never went to Lille”, not even to sign the contract. This player, sold to LOSC for some 4 million euros, confided his “anger” after this operation, which, he added, “weighed” on his career.