Football: Former Barca boss Laporta appears in court
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta appeared in court Monday as part of a probe into alleged financial irregularities in his dealing with football clubs from Uzbekistan.
Last year Turkish football agent Bayram Tutumlu accused Laporta of pocketing 10 million euros in illegal commissions for services provided by Barcelona to several football clubs in the Central Asian country, including FC Bunyodkor.
Under a 2008 deal between the Catalan side and FC Bunyodkor, several Barcelona players, including Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta, traveled to Uzbekistan to oversee training sessions.
Tutumlu also accused Laporta of not having been paid for having put the former Barcelona president in contact with Swiss-registered Uzbekistan conglomerate Zeromax which organised the deals.
He said the illegal commissions were deposited in a Swiss bank account belonging to Laporta's law firm, Laporta & Arbos.
Laporta has denied knowing Tutumlu. He has dismissed the Turkish agent's allegations, calling them "rubbish, nonsense and barbarities".
"My office does not charge illegal commissions, but fees for delivering legal services to companies. I never charged money for issues related to FC Barcelona," he told a news conference last year after a Barcelona court said it had opened an investigation into the allegations.
Laporta was Barcelona chairman from 2003 to 2010. Under his guidance Barcelona won the Champions League twice and the Spanish league four times making it the most successful period in the club's history.
© 2011 AFP