SOCCER SCAM

Liga clubs duped by “fake sheikh” investor scam

Getafe and Espanyol among teams taken in by promises of financial support and a Brazilian waiter

Madrid -

Catalan police have arrested a network of fraudsters who allegedly deceived businessmen and directors of soccer clubs, including Getafe, into thinking an Arab sheikh was interested in investing in their business.

The Cadena SER radio station has reported that Ángel Torres, Getafe’s president, had been promised an investment of 10 million euros but the club never received a cent from the seemingly nonexistent sheikh. The victims of the fraud were required to transfer funds as a guarantee of solvency to a bank account belonging to the conmen.

The fraudsters organized business trips to Arab countries with their victims and had a luxurious office in a wealthy Barcelona neighborhood, where photos were found of the fake investors pictured with influential politicians and King Juan Carlos. They organized meetings in luxurious hotels which were attended by a false Arab sheikh, who was in fact a Brazilian waiter paid 50 euros a time to dress up in the expected manner.

Among a number of other clubs and businesses thought to have been victims of the scam, directors from Espanyol also traveled to Dubai to meet with the fake “Arab multimillionaires,” only to discover later that they were being swindled. At the moment seven people have been arrested in the investigation, with two detainees being named as Joan Batalla and Marc Toscas.

This article was compiled with information from www.as.com/english.

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