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Luka Modric could face up to five years in prison for suspected perjury in trial | Football

Croatian prosecutors have launched an investigation into suspected perjury against Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric on on suspicion of him giving false testimony in a criminal trial about his financial deals with a former Dinamo Zagreb director charged with embezzlement and tax fraud. If charged and found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison.

Modric testified last week at the trial of a tax official and three former senior officials from the soccer club Dinamo Zagreb, including its former chief executive, Zdravko Mamic. Mamic is considered one of the most powerful people in Croatian football with a substantial political influence.

The state attorney’s office in the eastern city of Osijek, which is running the investigation of the false testimony, did not name Modric, as is standard procedure in Croatia.

But the state attorney’s office referred to a 32-year-old Croatian who testified last week, a description that fits Modric and no one else. Local media, including state radio and television, identified Modric as the investigation’s target.

Modric testified as a witness at the trial of Dinamo officials on charges that they avoided paying 12.2m Kuna (£1.44m) in taxes and that they diverted 116 million Kuna (£13.7m) from the club, anti-corruption police said.

“The witness falsely said that on 10 July, 2004, the date when he signed his first professional contract, he also signed an annex on the basis of which he had acquired a right to a 50:50 share in transfer fees,” the state attorney said in a statement. The attorney also said Modric falsely claimed that had signed such an annex every time he extended his contract.

Two years ago, Modric testified to anti-corruption investigators that he had signed an annex to his contract at a later point, when he had already joined a foreign club, according to the state attorney.

Modric moved to Tottenham from Dinamo Zagreb in 2008. He joined Real Madrid in 2012.

All three former Dinamo officials, who also include former coach Zoran Mamic and the club’s former executive and current senior official of the Croatian Football Federation, Damir Vrbanovic, deny the charges.

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