MADRID (AP) — Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell arrived in handcuffs Monday to stand trial on charges of money laundering related to the sale of television rights for matches involving the Brazilian national team.
Rosell, a former Nike executive in Brazil who presided over Barcelona from 2010-14, has been accused of misappropriating money coming from the sale of TV rights for friendly matches featuring Brazil as well as from a sponsorship contract between Nike and Brazil. He is also charged with forming part of a criminal organization.
Rosell has been in custody since his arrest nearly 21 months ago. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Police officers took Rosell’s handcuffs off inside the courtroom, but put them back on when he left for a short recess during Monday’s trial.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking an 11-year prison sentence for Rosell, plus a fine of nearly 60 million euros ($68 million).
Rosell’s wife and four other individuals also have been charged in the case.
The accusations are not directly related to Rosell’s presidency at Barcelona.
Prosecutors say Rosell helped launder nearly 20 million euros ($22 million) related to commissions for Brazil matches during the time embattled Brazilian soccer federation president Ricardo Teixeira was in charge.
Teixeira, a former FIFA executive committee member, was indicted by U.S. authorities in 2015 as part of the soccer corruption scandal.
Rosell’s trial is expected to last 10 days with different sessions through March.
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