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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Marseille deny wrongdoing

Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Marseille have denied a police raid on their training centre on Wednesday is connected to any wrongdoing by the Ligue 1 club.

An investigating judge and a dozen officers from the Central Office for the Fight against Organised Crime (OCLCO) arrived unannounced at La Commanderie on Wednesday morning. They raided offices belonging to OM staff, including president Vincent Labrune and sporting director Jose Anigo, seizing computers and documents.

"The aim of the enquiry, which led to the raid, is not the club, but is part of on-going investigations into other cases," a statement on the club's official website read. "The judge and officers have not given further details to the OM hierarchy."

Le Parisien newspaper delved further into the issue on Thursday, claiming the raid is part of an investigation, started in summer 2011, into extortion. The French capital's daily claims the €20 million transfer of Marseille forward André-Pierre Gignac from Toulouse to OM in summer 2010 eventually led to monies filtering through to members of Corsica's organised crime family. There is no suggestion the player had any knowledge of any wrongdoing.

"It's a real shame that OM is again the target. I think there has been a lot of effort put in over many years. Everyone has tried to ensure the club has a clean image. This just tarnishes it, which is why there's sadness," ex-OM president Christophe Bouchet told RMC radio.

Former OM player-turned-TV-pundit Eric Di Meco added: "It's not the first time a club has been raided. There's a lot of money washing around in football, notably in terms of transfers. It's already happened at Marseille, but also at other clubs. Don't fool yourselves. The police and the inland revenue are interested in what happens in football as there's a lot of money involved."




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