NEWS
Saturday August 4 2012
Bonucci lawyer fights betting charges

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci is also set to go to a full betting trial after plea bargain negotiations failed, as his lawyers picked apart the Udinese-Bari evidence.

The Italian international is accused of sporting fraud due to his time at Bari, risking three years and six months suspension.

There were reports this morning he was in talks with the prosecutor Stefano Palazzi to work out a plea bargain based on failing to report an attempted fix to authorities rather than the more serious charge, but it seems to have collapsed.

Bonucci’s lawyer, Gian Pietro Bianchi, criticised the basis of the evidence against Bonucci, which came from Andrea Masiello’s testimony.

“The prosecutor claims Masiello’s changing testimony was ‘progressively enriched’ rather than contradictory. But it is a progressive climax towards illogicality.

“As Masiello tries to make his version of events more useful to the prosecutor, he contradicts himself so much that we can’t even work out what role Bonucci had in this match.

“Masiello spoke twice to the Cremona prosecutors, once in Bari, and he never mentioned the Udinese-Bari match. On February 7 Iacovelli was the first to talk about Udinese-Bari, including Masiello but not Bonucci.

“When Masiello discovered through the newspapers that Iacovelli had talked – which is in itself damaging the evidence – then Masiello brought Bonucci into it.

“However, even here Masiello cannot get his story straight. First he said he asked Bonucci for the fix the week before the training camp, then he said specifically in the locker room. In the meantime, Bonucci proves he couldn’t have been there at that date because he was on international duty.

“So Masiello is asked about the circumstances of their meeting again, because the dates don’t match up. Masiello changes it to before the trip to Udine, which is his fourth testimony and fourth change, but it’s not enough.

“When he testifies on July 10 and ‘perfectly remembers’ Bonucci was not present during the week, so the meeting happened on the team bus to Udine. But Bonucci was there from Thursday and trained regularly each day.

“Evidently something doesn’t fit here, there are illogical discrepancies. Masiello also testified with discrepancies over whether the fix was meant to be an ‘over’ with many goals, a draw with goals or specifically 2-2.

“Then Masiello said he was passive on the second and third goals on purpose. But why? If it was meant to be a 2-2 for the betting syndicate, why would he favour a 3-2 result for Udinese?

“De Tullio testified that Masiello sorted the ‘fix’ Udinese-Bari all by himself and is just a big liar.”

Simone Pepe is also involved in this match, dragged in by Masiello’s testimony for failing to report an attempted fix to authorities, as Salvatore Masiello was the one who was meant to call Pepe.

Udinese could also see their fine revoked, because the charge of sporting fraud would be reduced to an attempted – and failed – fix orchestrated entirely by Andrea Masiello.

Prosecutor Palazzi requested several breaks during today’s court session, with many suggesting this means his entire case around Udinese-Bari is collapsing.

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