Ex-Dinamo Zagreb director fires lawyers during corruption trial, pushes Lovren's testimony
OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) – Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren's testimony at a Croatian soccer corruption trial was postponed Wednesday after the main suspect fired his lawyers during a hearing.
Lovren, who is not a suspect, was to testify about his financial deals with former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic, who has been charged with embezzlement and tax evasion.
Shortly after the hearing begun, Mamic got into an argument with a judge and his two lawyers, whom he immediately fired. The judge ordered a recess and called Lovren to testify in September.
''I revoke my authorization for these lawyers. I will defend myself,'' Mamic shouted after his lawyers tried to restrain him from disrupting the proceedings.
Mamic, his brother Zoran and two others are charged with embezzling 15 million euros ($17 million) since 2008 through fictitious deals made during transfers of several former Dinamo players to foreign clubs.
Lovren was to testify about his 9.5 million euro ($10.6 million) transfer from Dinamo to French club Lyon in 2010. Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric was questioned on Tuesday about his move to Tottenham in 2008.
Mamic, known for his public outbursts, is considered the most powerful person in Croatian soccer. The country has a strong national team but struggles at club level. There are also perennial problems with hooliganism.
The trial is seen as a test of Croatian judiciary in the face of widespread corruption.