Lazio president set to be jailed if guilty

November 18, 2008

Lazio president Claudio Lotito should serve 20 months in prison if he is found guilty of stock-market rigging, a prosecutor told an Italian court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Laura Pedio said construction magnate Roberto Mezzaroma, who is also a defendant in the case, bought 14.6 percent of Lazio shares on June 30, 2005 but that the purchase was really on behalf of Lotito.

She said Lotito, who helped save Lazio from financial ruin when he bought the club in 2004, wanted to hide his true shareholding to avoid regulatory procedures.

The two men deny the charges.

In a separate investigation, Italian authorities said in July that an organised crime gang from Naples had tried to buy Lazio in 2006 when Lotito was given police protection from 'ultra' fans urging him to sell.

Lazio, with a reputation for having right-wing supporters, are fifth in Serie A after losing 1-0 to city rivals AS Roma on Sunday. Minor crowd trouble in and around the Stadio Olimpico led to several arrests.