Juventus, interceptions: “This is like Calciopoli, but we created it ourselves…”

from Simona Lorenzetti and Massimiliano Nerozzi

The intercepted dialogues that led to the resignation of the Board, from Agnelli to Nedved to Arrivabene: «We supercazzoliamo Consob anyway…» «Just one comparison: Calciopoli. There was the whole world pulling against us, we created this one for ourselves».

“So much we supercazzoliamo Consob», Juve’s financial director Stefano Cerrato said to a colleague, speaking of the swap with Marseille Tongya/Aké which earned him a capital gain of 8 million. The interception is dated 15 October 2021 and the inspection by the supervisory body, which began three months earlier, was now in its final stages. But it had been the trigger for the wiretapping request signed by the adjunct Marco Gianoglio and by the prosecutors Mario Bendoni and Ciro Santoriello. The subject of the verification are the presumed capital gains on the players. And in those months a round of phone calls was unleashed in which the executives talked freely about what was happening and studied defensive maneuvers to emerge unscathed from that verification. Unaware that, since 14 July, the finance police have been listening.

It is from the intercepted telephone calls that it would emerge that Juve hopes to stem Consob, or rather to “supercazzolare” the inspectors. The expression, from Amici Miei, is precisely Cerrato’s. After discussing the Arthur-Pjanic affair with his predecessor Stefano Bertola (head of the business area), he picks up the phone to do the same thing with Ernst&Young’s auditor Roberto Grossi to tell him that he has prepared the report: «I think that however, it would be appropriate to give them (to Consob, ed.) a more or less reference to an accounting standard or something, that is, can I supercazzola them in a more refined way? Instead of just saying that?” These are memos which, according to the magistrates, would have been written precisely with the help of the auditor: an alleged joint drafting which would be confirmed by another wiretap on 26 October. The moment is delicate, because the inspectors are raising disputes on the accounting principle of the exchange. The memory – according to the seized documents – would have been sent to the auditor via email “to share it”. And the next day, Grossi advises Cerrato not to use the term «randomness», which «is too strong», but to prefer «subjectivity». And he adds: “Don’t say you don’t use the Transfermarkt, say you do sometimes.” All dialogues captured by the financiers, who a month later will show up at the Juve offices with a search warrant signed by the prosecutors.

Moral: intercepting the Juventus managers during the Consob inspection will prove to be extremely valuable for the investigators who are now contesting the club’s top management – Andrea Agnelli, Pavel Nedved and Maurizio Arrivabene and other managers – false corporate communications for three financial statements (from 2018 to 2020), obstacle to supervision, rigging and false invoicing. Under accusation are the alleged “artificial capital gains” and the “salary maneuvers” on the deferment of the monthly payments due to the players in the months of the pandemic. And it is capital gains that are at the center of a long conversation between sports director Federico Cherubini and Bertola. On the evening of 22 July, the two book a table at the Cornoler restaurant, a stone’s throw from the center and the old Juventus headquarters. Shortly before the appointment, the soldiers of the economic and financial police nucleus manage to plant the bugs. It will be the only environmental interception of the investigation, but one of the most productive, from an investigative point of view, with over three hours of conversation captured. Obviously, we talk about football and business, capital gains and the head of the technical area Fabio Paratici, who had left the club a few days ago. “I told Fabio (Paratici, ed): it’s a legal method but you pushed too hard,” says Cherubini. “And he replied: ‘We don’t care, because in exchanges if you put 4 or 10 it’s the same, no one can tell you anything'”. The sports director insists: “Fabio had a free card”. The discussion is such that Bertola confides: «The situation is really delicate. In 15 years I make only one comparison: Calciopoli. There was the whole world pulling against us, but we created this one for ourselves».

Unequivocal words for the investigators, but which according to a defensive interpretation could have another interpretation: a parallel between the difficulties of the club in the post Calciopoli period – with the players on the run and the team in B – and the current, with the Superlega chaos and the budgets in crisis due to Covid. Bertola never went to speak to the magistrates. For now, the wiretaps speak for him and the other suspects. Like that of another manager who underlines the need to give answers to Consob because the inspectors cannot be told that «the financial statements are an act of faith».

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December 01, 2022 ( change December 01, 2022 | 07:51)

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