AC Milan president Li denies takeover wrongdoing
Li Yonghong, the president of AC Milan, today denied persistent Italian press reports claiming wrongdoing in the sale of the Italian soccer giants to a Chinese consortium in April last year, describing them as an “unacceptable media campaign based on speculations and misleading information.”
The reports claimed that three transactions, deposits of €100 million ($122 million) each paid before the takeover, were being investigated by financial authorities.
However, Li said in a statement issued today that the reports “relating to an alleged money laundering investigation against the Fininvest group (which was later denied by the Public Prosecutor's Office) require me to make clarifications as party involved.”
Fininvest is the holding company of the family of Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister and ex-owner of the club.
Li continued: “AC Milan purchase process has always been carried out with the utmost transparency, compliance with regulations and correctness, with the support and advice of international financial and legal advisors. All procedures were followed in full compliance with the laws and practices in force.
“All financial institutions, sports organizations and authorities involved received the documentation, either required or requested, to assess and approve both the ‘closing’ process and the qualifications of the new Property now managing the Team. What I have read these days absolutely does not reflect the reality of facts.”
The statement ends with a threat of legal action against those who are regarded as attacking “the image, the reputation and the financial solidity of AC Milan and of the reference group.”
The club was acquired in April last year from Berlusconi by Chinese consortium Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing Co, renamed Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux after the new Europe-based holding company set up to finalise the sale.
The deal was valued at €740 million.