AC Milan, Clubs, Italian Serie A, Italy, Story

Gab Marcotti takes us around the biggest story lines in Italy, including AC Milan’s Coppa Italia victory, Gonazalo Higuain injury blow and the best Serie A games this weekend.

The Milan prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the sale of AC Milan from Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest company to Li Yonghong last April, ANSA and Reuters report.

No individuals are as yet named as suspects in what is currently a preliminary investigation based on suspicious movements of funds picked up by Italy’s Guardia di Finanza — Financial Guard — regarding the sale.

Three suspicious transactions have been passed on by the Bankitalia to the Guardia di Finanza related to the sale of the Serie A club.

Li Yonghong paid a total of €740 million to acquire a majority stake in AC Milan, with the payment made over several instalments and with the backing of substantial loans, reported to cover at least €303m, from the Elliott Management Corporation.

On Wednesday, Il Corriere della Sera reported that one of Li Yonghong’s main companies in China had filed for bankruptcy.

According to the report, Jie Ande — reported to be one of the Chinese businessman’s main assets — has been declared insolvent, raising more doubts as to how Li Yonghong can be expected to pay back the substantial loan taken out from Elliott by the due date of October.

Milan owner Yonghong Li poses with general manager Marco Fassone and David Han Li.

Just a week ago, Milan’s general manager Marco Fassone rubbished reports they may be forced to sell some of their key assets, such as goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, in order to balance the books.

“There will be a refinancing and there a few offers on the table,” Fassone told Sky Sport Italia. “Our relationships with Li Yonghong are excellent, as they are also with Elliott. We’re very serene about the future of the club and I’m relatively optimistic.

“I don’t think there will be an extension to the deadline with Elliott. There will be sufficient elements to ensure a good future for Milan. [UEFA] want reassurances over the club’s continuity [for FFP] and I’m convinced I have hold of everything needed to reassure them — they’ve got nothing to fear.

“And I’m also convinced that, if needed, Elliott would back me up.”

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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