Juventus’ bad week has gotten, potentially, a whole lot worse.
According to just about every major sports news agency in Italy on Friday, it was revealed that Juventus’ headquarters at Continassa as well as club offices in Milan were searched earlier in the day by officials with the Guardia di Finanza, a law enforcement Agency in Italy under the wing of the Minister of Economy and Finance. The cause of the search and the subsequent collection of financial documents comes because of an ongoing investigaiton into Juventus for false accounting from 2018 to 2021, with an emphasis being put on the club’s “plusvalenza” deals both with other clubs and around Europe.
The most notable of those infamous plusvalenza swap deals came in the summer of 2020 all of a few months after the lockdown in Italy was lifted when Juventus and Barcelona swapped Miralem Pjanic and Arthur in a deal where they were valued at €60 million and €72 million, respectively, and resulted in massive capital gains for both clubs with only the €12 million difference changing hands.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, vice president Pavel Nedved and former Chief Football Officer Fabio Paratici — who left the club after the 2020-211 season and then took a job with Tottenham as its sporting director — are three of the six suspects included in the false accounting investigation.
The Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office released a lengthy press release regarding the investigation and Friday’s developments. Part of it, via Tuttosport (and Google Translate), reads as follows:
At present, the activities are aimed at ascertaining the crime of false communications from listed companies and issuing invoices for non-existent transactions, towards the top management and the managers of the business, financial and sports management areas. Under consideration there are various transfer operations of professional players and the services rendered by some agents involved in the relative intermediaries. The profile of administrative responsibility for a crime is also assumed to be borne by the company, provided for when a legal person has benefited from the commission of certain specific offenses. To protect the financial market, the searches were started after the closing of the weekly trading of the Italian Stock Exchange [...].
The investigation, called “Prisma”, started in May 2021 and is entrusted to a pool of Magistrates of the Economy Group, made up of Deputy Prosecutors Ciro Santoriello, Mario Bendoni and Deputy Prosecutor Marco Gianoglio, also making use of technical activities of interception of communications”.
That last sentence is rather important, seeing as this investigation is nothing new or that something that suddenly came up. This is an investigation that has been going on for six months, with Friday’s developments the latest steps in what could result in what you have to think is some serious punishment if Juventus are found guilty of these suspected accounting issues.
The worrying part is that the Pjanic-Arthur deal isn’t the only kind of capital gains operation that Juventus has done over the course of the three-year window in which is being investigated by the Guardia di Finanza in “Prisma.” The plusvalenza swap deal is something that Juve has used quite a bit over the last few years, especially when you consider what the club’s financial state has become in the wake of the pandemic and fans not being in the stands for nearly a season and a half.
What Friday’s actions result in remain to be seen. It’s certainly not good news knowing that things are nowhere they used to be both on the field and in terms of how the roster