Michele Acquarone, former director of the Giro d’Italia cycling race, has been cleared following a six-year fraud investigation.
The ruling by Milan’s District Court has cleared Acquarone’s name six years after he was sacked by RCS Media Group, the parent company of race organiser and promoter RCS Sport.
The dismissal of Acquarone came after RCS Media Group uncovered a misappropriation of €15m ($16.6m) in company funds as money left RCS Sport accounts between 2006 and 2013.
Laura Bertinotti, the former head of accounting at RCS Sport, has, however, been handed a jail sentence of eight years and eight months, according to La Presse news agency. With the exception of Bertinotti, who has the right to appeal, all the other accused individuals are have been cleared.
Acquarone always insisted that the funds were taken out of the accounts without his authority and that the central accounting office of RCS Media Group was responsible for controlling the company accounts.
In response to the news, he said on Twitter: “Better late than never. A little joy after six years of great pain. A hug of thanks to all those who have been close to me over the years.”
The Milan District Court judge is reported to have ordered the seizure of Bertinotti’s assets.