Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell was remanded in custody over allegations of laundering 15 million euros, and prosecutors have requested prison without bail.
Image: Sandro Rosell
Rosell appeared in court on Thursday, Marca reports.
Judge Carmen Lamela, who presided over proceedings at the High Court of Spain, heard testimonies against Rosell and his business partner Joan Besoli.
Barca’s ex-president Rosell resigned from his position in 2014 after he was indicted in Neymar’s transfer saga.
The 53-year-old and his wife were arrested for their business engagements in Brazil.
Rosell’s money-laundering investigation is connected to ” buying television rights for past matches” played by Brazil national team.
As part of Operation Rimet, police reportedly raided offices, homes and businesses in Barcelona and other locations in Spain.
Rosell’s lawyer, Pau Molins, told Spanish media his client was “worried” and “surprised” but had done nothing wrong.
“His private actions in Brazil were completely legal,” Molins said, according to Marca.
The police raid tagged “Operation Rimet,” was carried out in honor of the former Fifa president Jules Rimet, who also gave his name to the World Cup trophy from 1930 to 1970.
The judge issued a warrant for Rosell’s properties to searched for any evidence that could link him to the crimes and assist the investigation.
Officials said the operation used information from the FBI following the US case against high-level Fifa officials in 2015.
Rosell was a former Nike executive in Brazil.
Apart from his involvement in Neymar’s case, he stands accused because of his close connection to the former president of the Brazilian football confederation, Ricardo Teixeira, who was mentioned in the indictment by American officials.
Teixeira was also being investigated by Spanish authorities. Raids are expected in Brazil as authorities seek to clamp down on financial crimes.
Although Teixeira resigned from the Brazilian confederation in 2012 due to his deteriorating health, there are allegations that he and Rosell had some illegal business deals involving Brazil’s national team and Nike, which is Brazil team’s official sponsor.
Rosell is also facing accusations from Brazilian authorities for using one of his companies to strike an illegal deal during a friendly match between Brazil and Portugal in 2008.
The accused persons have pleaded not guilty.