Latin America

Maradona skips court date in embezzlement suit against ex-wife

Soccer star claims the mother of his two daughters stole €7.5 million of his fortune

Maradona's ex-wife Claudia Villafañe leaves a Buenos Aires courthouse on Tuesday.
Maradona's ex-wife Claudia Villafañe leaves a Buenos Aires courthouse on Tuesday.Fernández / EFE

The contentious public battle between Argentinean soccer legend Diego Maradona and his ex-wife, Claudia Villafañe, over €7.5 million of his fortune that has reportedly disappeared, began playing out in a Buenos Aires courtroom on Tuesday.

Maradona, 54, filed a civil lawsuit against Villafañe, who is the mother of two of his children, accusing her of stealing his money.

Outside the court, TV camera crews were camped out to capture the arrival of Maradona’s ex-wife

Both sides were summoned before a judge to clarify their personal finances. Villafañe was first to show up but her ex-husband decided to send his lawyer to represent him instead.

The entire case has sparked a media frenzy in Argentina. Outside the court, TV camera crews were camped out to capture the moments when Maradona’s ex-wife arrived and left the courthouse.

“I am not going to say anything. Will you please let me leave?” said Villafañe as she pushed her way through a throng of reporters.

Matías Morla, who is representing the former Barça and Seville soccer player, explained that during the hearing Villafañe was told of “all the critical points” that turned up in an audit carried out by a private consulting firm of Maradona’s properties and finances in Argentina, the United States and other countries.

Villafañe was told of “all the critical points” that turned up in an audit on Maradona’s properties

“[Villafañe’s lawyer] took note of every point we have asked to be clarified,” Morla said. “Now it is up to them to evaluate all our questions. Claudia said that there were some things that she didn’t know about until today.”

The next court date is scheduled for August 8.

Villafañe, who was Maradona’s teenage sweetheart, was accompanied by one of their two daughters Gianinna Maradona, the former girlfriend of Manchester City striker Sergio Kun Agüero.

Another daughter, Dalma, has said in an interview with an Argentinean newspaper that she hopes the entire affair can be settled out of court.

Maradona told the website Big Bang News that all he wants is his money returned to him

Before the hearing, Maradona told the website Big Bang News that all he wants is his money returned to him.

“I did not denounce anybody when I was robbed and I will not do so now. All I want is my money. I will not put forward any names as I have never done that. However, if they do not give me back my money, they will be sorry. I just want Dalma and Gianinna to remain calm. And I will also say another thing: I want Jana to also remain calm,” he said referring to another daughter he had during an extramarital affair.

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Maradona had been unfaithful to Villafañe on many occasions. Nevertheless, she helped him overcome his cocaine addiction even though they were separated at the time, and continued to manage his financial affairs. They divorced about 12 years ago.

In 2005, Maradona tried to reconcile with his ex-wife but she declined. Since then the former soccer star – who also played for Naples and Boca Juniors – has had two steady partners.

In contrast to her ex-husband, who craves the limelight, Villafañe tries to avoid publicity. She is reportedly dating Argentinean theater producer Jorge Tainana.