Italian giants Napoli and French side Lille had their offices raided Tuesday, with Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis investigated for possible fraud in the transfer of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, DGN Online can report.
According to Il Mattino, La Repubblica, Sky Sport Italia and others, police raided Napoli and Lille offices in Naples, Rome and France as part of the investigation.
According to French media outlet, L’Equipe, it was revealed that Lille got just €36m, not €81m, as widely reported.
It was the most expensive deal in Lille’s history, making Osimhen the most expensive African footballer ever, taking over from Nicolas Pepe, who left for Arsenal the previous season.
However, despite the fanfare the move created at the time, details have emerged that Osimhen’s former club has only received €36m from his transfer.
The Ligue 1 club was in a very poor financial state at the time and the transfer of the Super Eagles forward was used to balance the books by the club.
The deal has long been a cause of controversy, as the official €70m transfer plus €10m in bonuses was only circa €50m in cash, the other €20m made up of goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis and three youth team players Luigi Liguori, Claudio Manzi and Ciro Palmieri.
The value of the youth team players immediately raised eyebrows, because they were given vastly inflated prices on the transfer market.
This caused even more controversy when the three players never actually wore the Lille jersey, as they were immediately loaned out to Serie C sides and their contracts were simply terminated a year later free of charge.
The players went to the media complaining that the deal had ruined their careers and they were used as pawns in a larger transaction used to bolster the finances of both Napoli and Lille.
By Vincent Kubi