Arsenal ties to Belgian probe alleged

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:34 IST

A Belgian police investigation into a soccer club has revealed secret money links to Arsenal, a BBC news program alleged on Thursday.

London:

A Belgian police investigation into a soccer club has revealed secret money links to Arsenal, a BBC news program alleged on Thursday. A probe into reports that Belgian club Beverin had ties with the Russian mafia produced no evidence. But the BBC's Newsnight said documents found during the investigation suggested Arsenal provided financial support to the club, which used Belgium's lax rules to bring soccer players to Europe from Africa. Investigators concluded Arsenal secretly handed over more than $ 1.8 million to fund the takeover of the small-town club, with an interest free loan agreement. Interest free loans Arsenal admits to providing funding to the club, but denies ever owning any shares in the side. "Arsenal did, in 2001, provide a loan to a businessman to use the money to help stabilize the finances of Beverin," an Arsenal statement said. FIFA prohibits any team from owning shares in more than one club. The businessman in question is Jean Marc Guillou, a close friend of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Guillou then used the club to bring players from a soccer academy in Abidjan to be sold on in Europe. Current Arsenal players Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue were brought through this way. According to several directors of Beverin, Arsenal made interest free loans to NV Goal, the main shareholder in Beverin, to take over the club. (AP)

Topics : Football Arsenal
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