Crime but not much punishment in la Liga

The Spanish league’s main sponsors will have you know that there's is the best in the world.

Well, that may be so, but these days la Liga feels more like a particularly insane series of ‘My Name is Earl’. Each week seems to bring news of another pea-brained, idiot hick attempting a wacky, moneymaking scheme, only for it to go terribly wrong.

And many of those involve current Málaga owner, Lorenzo Sanz. Although the overworked lawyers of Señor Sanz have - like Ever Banega during ‘Spain’s Newest Supermodel’ - a lot on their hands on the moment, La Liga Loca will still err on the side of caution by swerving many of the hair-raising rumours that surround the former Real Madrid president’s ‘complicated’ business life. Instead, it will simply repeat Marca’s delicate comment from last week that Sanz “keeps on having problems with the law” and note that he genuinely has more than a passing resemblance to ‘Fat Tony’ from The Simpsons.  It seems that there is nothing that Sanz likes more than being photographed coming out of police stations with wild and crazy accusations surrounding his fine, upstanding name. It September of 2008, unlucky Lorenzo was arrested at Cordoba railway station and questioned over his involvement over a suspected false payment worth $10 million.

Helping a friend open a foundation in Spain, was his side of the story.  And to massive national interest in Spain - but no great surprise - Sanz was arrested, once again, last Wednesday, concerning the illegal exportation of Spanish art to Italy - something that needs the government’s permission, apparently. Unfortunately, this was completely unknown to Sanz, claims the man himself, when released later in the day pending charges.

"I bought some paintings and afterwards some people told me we could have an auction in Italy," said Lorenzo.

"I have no idea if you have to get permission to sell art outside Spain.Liking nothing more than poking around in some dishy dirt, the Spanish football press have delved a little further into the mire and discovered that there may be more than meets the eye, in this unfortunate artistic affair. The case in question dates back to 2005, say Marca, when Sanz was reportedly trying to buy cash-strapped Italian side, Parma. Saturday’s edition reports that he was flush enough to front the €7.5 million required for the initial payment but was forced to sell off some of his art collection, which included paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th century to meet the remaining €20 million to complete the purchase. As well as this being a crime in Spain, AS report that Sanz is also in hot water because police in Italy suspect that the Málaga owner was trying to sell the pictures to the mafia organisation, ‘Ndrangheta, after his name popped up during investigations into the group’s illicit activities.Although Sanz claims that he “has nothing to do with this case,” La Liga Loca suspects that this story may be one to watch. There is yet more funny financial business afoot, this time in Mallorca, a club that is suffering no end of economic agony these days. After dalliances with an English plumber and some Uzbek businessmen - helped by Joan Laporta’s law firm, no less - Mallorca seemed to have found a more secure financial footing in August when the then owner, Mateo Alemany, sold his 93 percent shareholding to an investment group fronted by Javier Bernado Martí Asensio, who became the club’s Delegate General. The problem was that Mallorca’s staff and players stopped receiving their wages and bonuses soon after and the second payment from the new owners to Alemany of €500,000 bounced, forcing him to take back the club. In a press conference given last week, Alemany advised that he has reported the previous owners for a number of accounting ‘irregularities’ and wants to know more about a €500,000 loan taken from the club and given to the investment group and a suspicious €90,000 invoice paid by Mallorca. As a swift response to such dodgy dealings on Spain’s various costas, La Liga Loca will just say that it has no idea what’s in their water these days, but it certainly won’t be drinking it.

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