BSP-26 Monaco deny Football Leaks claims of offshore set-up to bypass Financial Fair Play





Monaco deny Football Leaks claims of offshore set-up to bypass Financial
Fair Play

PARIS, Nov 5, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Monaco have denied claims that they tried to
bypass UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by agreeing to enter a
partnership to generate revenues from an offshore firm registered in Hong

Documents released on Monday by French investigative website Mediapart,
part of the Football Leaks investigation, also indicated that European
football’s governing body was prepared to overlook the deal in 2014 to avoid
Monaco being harshly punished.

Monaco said in a statement: “The club firmly denies having bypassed
Financial Fair Play through a contract with a marketing agency, contrary to
false claims published by French and European media.”

Monaco qualified for the Champions League in 2014 after finishing second
in Ligue 1, and were looking for new revenue streams that would enable them
to comply with FFP.

UEFA rules say clubs cannot spend more than they earn in any given season
and deficits must fall within a 30-million-euro ($34 million) limit over
three seasons.

Finding income from elsewhere is all the more important for Monaco given
their modest attendances, and Mediapart cited documents claiming the club
signed a partnership agreement with AIM Digital Imaging.

The “offshore company registered in Hong Kong” was reputedly tasked with
guaranteeing “140 million euros for AS Monaco over 10 years” if the club
itself was unable to generate such revenue.

Monaco admitted that it had sought a deal with AIM but said the figures
involved were less substantial.

“AS Monaco wishes to point out that this contract included marketing
resources, sponsoring but also all revenue related to the Champions League,”
they said. “The agency had to find 30 million euros in additional resources.”

They added: “But this contract (which proved to be too ambitious and
unachievable) has never been executed and as such never entered the club’s
accounts… It has therefore at no time been used in the context of Financial
Fair Play.”

Football Leaks added that in October 2014 Monaco also reached an agreement
with City Concept Ventures, “a dummy company registered in the British Virgin
Islands” that would invest 140 million euros a year in AIM Digital Imaging.

Mediapart claims that City Concept Ventures was in fact a “sock puppet” of
Monaco’s Russian billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, which would allow him
to directly inject money into the club without breaching FFP rules.

It is also claimed that the principality side undertook “an intense
lobbying campaign” with Andrea Traverso, in charge of FFP at UEFA, including
over dinner at a plush Monte Carlo restaurant.

UEFA did open an investigation into Monaco’s finances and handed the club
a three million-euro fine in May 2015.

However, according to the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC)
consortium behind Football Leaks, UEFA’s Investigatory Chamber “chose to
close its eyes” to the contract with AIM with “a particularly clement
amicable agreement”.

In the end, it is claimed that Monaco abandoned the planned offshore set-
up due to an alleged disagreement between Rybolovlev and AIM boss Bernard de