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19 June 2016

Ex-Ghana coach Claude Leroy facing two-year jail…

 

Ex-Ghana coach Claude LeroyEx-Ghana coach Claude Leroy is facing a two-year prison sentence and 18 months suspended in France for his role in the alleged fraudulent transfers of players, GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively reveal.

Prosecutors on Friday demanded the heavy jail sentence for the current coach of the Togo national team for the role he played in the case when he was the General Manager of French club Strasbourg.

The case dates back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it is highlighted by the club owner involved in the transfer activities of players’ agents.

French law requires the two to be separated but Leroy has been accused of overseeing a system that allowed the club owners to be involved in the transfer of players out of the club.

Prosecutors are demanding that the Strasbourg Criminal Court jails the highly experienced French coach for allowing that to happen but the former Black Stars coach insists he was ignorant.

False invoices were issued to allow the British arm of IMG, the company which was then the owner of the club, and various intermediaries, to earn commissions on contracts for transfer of players at the expense of club.

Among the transfers in question is that of the attacker Peggy Luyindula who moved to Olympique Lyon in 2001 for 58 million francs, plus a bonus of 11 million.

The lawyers of Leroy argued before the courts that the coach’s lack of knowledge of the legal framework of transfers caused the illegal transfers to happen.

But Leroy’s statement of defence has clearly not convinced the prosecution which is still pressing for the jail term for the coach.

“We’re in a little world of ultra-privileged stirring hundreds of thousands of francs. If this is a grey area then we forget that there are regulations governing transfers, ” the prosecutor, Sébastien Hauger, lamented in his submissions.

Also prosecuted in the case is, Patrick Proisy, former president of RC Strasbourg, who risks three years imprisonment and thirty months suspended.

No penalty of a fine was required against Claude Le Roy, who was placed in custody in this case in 2006, and Patrick Proisy, who prosecutors admitted that they had not personally enriched themselves.

The two agents pursued in this case, Gilbert Sau and Nicolas Geiger are rather being pursued to pay fines as they directly benefited from the case.

The ruling is expected to be delivered on 13 September.

If Claude Le Roy is jailed it could severely affect the Togolese national team who are chasing a place at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Leroy, who started coaching in Africa since 1985 with Cameroon has gone on to coach half a dozen African national teams.

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