The former FC Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, has been found not guilty in a money laundering case – for which he had spent 21 months in pre-trial jail from May 2017 to February 2019.
Rosell and five other individuals were accused of laundering the money received over the audiovisual rights of 24 Brazil national football team matches.
However, Spain’s National Court in Madrid, said the allegations could not be proven, and therefore the principle ‘in dubio pro reo’ prevailed (when in doubt, in favour of the accused).
Prosecutors at the Madrid-based court had called for the ex-Barça boss to be jailed for six years.
He had been accused of hiding money illegally obtained by Ricardo Teixeira, the former head of the Brazilian Football Confederation.
The case centres on a deal signed by Teixeira in 2006 with a company based in the Cayman Islands for the television rights to 24 Brazil friendly matches.
Altogether, Rosell and his wife allegedly received close to 15 million euros in their accounts as part of the deal.
They pocketed 6.6 million euros with 8.4 million destined for Teixeira, prosecutors had said.
Rosell, 55, had previously lived and worked in Brazil, where he forged business links.
Teixeira has been indicted by US Justice Department prosecutors investigating the FIFA corruption scandal.
Rosell was also suspected of having received some five million euros illicitly as part of Nike’s sponsorship deal with the Brazilian team.
He resigned as Barcelona president in 2014 over murky transfer dealings that brought Brazilian striker Neymar to the club from Santos.
Rosell is waiting to be tried in another case for corruption, fraud and tax evasion related to Neymar’s transfer to the Catalan giants in 2013.