Parma chairman and president Giampietro Manenti was arrested and charged with money laundering after being accused in a failed hacker credit card scam.
Manenti was scheduled to attend a bankruptcy hearing on Thursday to discuss the club’s mounting financial problems. He took over the team in February and agreed to pay off the club’s debt, estimated at $110 million.
Manenti is accused of being part of a scam where hackers used cloned or stolen credit cards to transfer about $4.8 million that could have been used as revenue from sponsorships.
Manenti is one of 22 people who were detained by Italian authorities on Wednesday, before any transfers made it into Parma accounts. Investigators are looking into crimes such as criminal conspiracy, computer fraud, the use of cloned payment cards, money laundering and self-laundering.
"I hope sooner or later this all ends because honestly we can't take any more," Parma captain Alessandro Lucarelli said to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We've been going on for various reasons, but you do really just want to give it all up. It's becoming a farce and I say it in sadness because it's disgusting."
Parma is at the bottom of Serie A with nine points in 25 matches this season, 16 points from safety and relegation to Serie B. They were also forced to postpone two games earlier in the season after failing to pay the team’s players.
- Scooby Axson