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Rosell acquitted of money-laundering charges

Sandro Rosell, former president of Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona, has been acquitted of money-laundering charges after spending 20 months in prison.

The Associated Press news agency reported that court officials in the Spanish capital of Madrid today (Wednesday) ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove Rosell guilty of charges relating to television rights sales for matches involving the Brazilian national team.

Rosell had been accused of collecting approximately €20m ($22.4m) from illegal commissions relating to the rights for 24 Brazil friendly matches, as well as from a sponsorship contract between US sportswear company Nike and Brazil. He was also accused of forming part of a criminal organisation.

The AP noted that Spanish prosecutors had initially been seeking an 11-year prison sentence for Rosell, along with a fine of almost €60m. This request was then reduced to six years after both sides had presented their cases but Rosell has now been acquitted of the charges.

Rosell’s trial began in February and he was granted bail a few days into the trial. The AP reported that the five other people charged in the case, among them Rosell’s wife Joan Besoli, were also acquitted.

Rosell resigned from Barcelona in 2014 amid growing controversy surrounding the club’s signing of Brazilian forward Neymar.