Former directors of the Giro d’Italia have been acquitted in a long-running €15million fraud case, as an ex-administrative director for the race has been jailed.
Michele Acquarone, former manager of the race organiser RCS Sport and a former director of the Giro, has been acquitted along with other former employers after millions went missing between 2006 and 2013, Tuttobici Web reports.
Acquarone initially discovered that €60,000 had gone missing and when he brought the issue to the attention of RCS he lost his job.
After years of legal hearings, Acquarone has been acquitted, while former administrative director Laura Bertinotti has been jailed for eight years and six months of imprisonment.
Acquarone was acquitted alongside six other defendants.
RCS Sport organises a host of events, including the Giro, the Milan Marathon, basketball and golf occasions.
Acquarone said on Twitter: “Better late than never. A little joy after six years of great pain. Hug to all of those who have been close to me over the years.”
The case was long-running because of a number of delays in the Italian legal system.
In February last year, Acquarone told Cycling Weekly: “I don’t know if this is normal for Italy. I agree that justice is slow, but this is unreal.
“Nothing has happened in four and a half years, only RCS fired me. I hoped that the process would happen quickly, I have a clean conscience, I hoped at least for a quick process. The only thing I’m guilty of is seeing something wrong and reporting it.”
In the legal papers, former administration employee Laura Bertinotti was accused of taking “over €15 million.” Much was withdrawn from bank machines or with slips, with her signature, in cash.
She quit as soon as Acquarone discovered the problems going on at RCS Sport. By chance, he saw some financial papers that showed €60,000 missing. When he brought that to the attention of the company, he lost his job and the Italian financial police uncovered much more – millions not thousands – missing.