Ander Herrera, Gabi, Javier Aguirre 'among 41 named in match-fixing case'
Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera, Atletico Madrid captain Gabi and Japan coach Javier Aguirre have all been named as defendants by Spanish prosecutors in an alleged case of match-fixing involving a game in La Liga in the 2010-11 season.
Reuters reports that Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor, Alejandro Luzon, filed the case on Monday following an investigation into Real Zaragoza's vital 2-1 victory at Levante on the final day of the 2010-11 campaign -- a result that saw Zaragoza stay in the Spanish top flight.
Aguirre was Zaragoza's coach at the time, while Herrera -- who moved from Athletic Bilbao to Old Trafford this summer -- and Atleti skipper Gabi were both playing for the club, with the latter scoring twice to secure the victory at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia ground.
Zaragoza's former president Agapito Iglesias, the club -- as a legal person with criminal liability -- and the rest of the players from both sets of teams are reportedly among the defendants in the court filing, which alleges that Levante's players received 965,000 euros (766,292 pounds) in total to lose the game.
According to prosecutors, Zaragoza made bank transfers to their own players and officials, who then took the money out of their accounts in cash to then give to Levante's players.
The investigating judge overseeing the case in Valencia will now decide whether to go ahead with the prosecution.
AS reports that, if found guilty, the defendants could face prison sentences between six months to four years, playing bans ranging from one year to six, and a fine of up to 5.5 million euros.
In June 2013, Spanish league president Javier Tebas included the match in a list of nine suspect games that the league was investigating for possible match-fixing, and said in October that he believed that particular game was "fixed."
Aguirre claimed innocence over the allegations on Dec. 5, telling Japan Football Association (JFA) lawyer Yutaka Miyoshi that he was "very angry, and that he has never done such a thing as a professional football coach," while the JFA has backed the coach.
The prosecutor has presented the complaint under Article 270 and following the Criminal Procedure Act and the provisions of Article 3.4 of the Organic Statute of the Public Prosecutor. It will go before the magistrate dean of Valencia, in accordance with Article 14.2 of the Criminal Procedure Act and 87.1 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary, taking the place of commission of the alleged crime of sporting fraud.
The prosecutor has questioned 25 people in the pre-trial phase since Oct. 2, although one of them, Quico Catalan, did so as a witness. In that questioning the prosecutor said he received crucial confessions from Gabi, whom he said acknowledged that he did "as the club had asked."
The 965,000 euros were allegedly used to pay the Levante players. Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias said the money was to pay for the 12,000 Zaragoza fans who made the trip and also the buses that were used to transport them.
Luzon said his plan was to present the complaint last Friday but the final documents requested from the bank arrived on Monday. The prosecutor said he would travel to Valencia for the next interrogation phase if the complaint is declared as admissible.
In addition to Real Zaragoza as an entity, the following figures were named as defendants: Agapito Iglesias, Francisco Javier Porquera, Francisco Jose Checa (general secretary in 2011 and now), Antonio Prieto (sporting director of Zaragoza), Javier Aguirre (coach of Zaragoza) and players Maurizio Lanzaro, Doblas, Paulo Cesar da Silva, Jorge Lopez, Ander Herrera, Braulio, Ponzio, Gabi, Diogo, Obradovic, Uche, Pinter, Paredes, Leo Franco, Jarosik, Bertolo, Boutahar, Lafita, Pallardo, Munua, Rodas, Rafa Jorda, Ruben Suarez, Xavi Torres, Stuani, Wellington Alves, Jefferson Montero, Robuste, Javi Venta, Reina, Caicedo, Iborra, Ballesteros, Juanfran and Cerra.