Prosecutors recommend fine in PSG trial

PARIS - Prosecutors recommended a 120,000-euro fine against sports equipment maker Nike on Monday and a 150,000-euro fine for French club Paris Saint-Germain in a trial over payments to attract players.

Nike and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), as well as two former presidents of the football club and several agents, are accused of hiding payments to avoid French employment taxes.

Nike France and PSG have denied any wrongdoing. A judgement is expected within the next months.

Prosecutors also recommended fines of 40,000 euros and 25,000 euros against the former presidents, and suspended jail terms and fines for the agents.

Prosecutors say agents, sponsors and officials of PSG, one of France's richest clubs with famous fans such as President Nicolas Sarkozy, partly hid payments for some 20 transfers from 1998 to 2005, evading tax and social security authorities.

They said the payments included those of star players such as Gabriel Heinze, who joined PSG from Spanish club Valladolid in 2001, and Nicolas Anelka, who came from Real Madrid in 2000.

Nike is accused of helping to hide payments through sponsorship contracts with players such as Brazil's Ronaldinho.

The players themselves are not among the accused.

French magistrates stumbled over the suspect payments some years ago after investigating the salary of one player.

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