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Croatia court rejects Modric perjury charges: report

Luka Modric was crowned FIFA’s best player of the year © AFP/File / GABRIEL BOUYS

Zagreb, Croatia, Oct 2 – A Zagreb court has rejected charges that Croatia captain and Real Madrid star Luka Modric gave false testimony in a corruption trial, a Croatian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The decision, which can be appealed, came just a week after Modric was crowned FIFA’s best player of the year, after starring for both his club and Croatia.

Croatian prosecutors charged Modric in March with committing perjury during evidence he gave in the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic.

Modric, 33, testified in June last year over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

He went on to join Real Madrid in 2012.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.

But, the Zagreb municipal court decided not to confirm the indictment — a step required by Croatian law for a trial to open — according to an online report in the Vecernji List daily quoting the tribunal.

The report could not be immediately confirmed with the court.

Vecernji List said the court ruled that the indictment was “premature”, meaning it should have not been brought before rulings in the trial against Mamic become final.

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Mamic and three other defendants were found guilty of charges of abuse of power and corruption that cost Dinamo, the current Croatian champions, more than 15 million euros ($17.3 million), and the state 1.5 million euros.

Mamic, who is currently in hiding in neighbouring Bosnia, was sentenced in June to six and a half years in jail.

Prosecutors allege cash was embezzled through fictitious deals related to player transfers.

Liverppool defender Dejan Lovren, who also testified at the Mamic trial about his 2010 transfer from Dinamo to French side Lyon, also faces perjury charges.

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