(Adds details of Chinaglia arrest)
ROME, July 22 A notorious Italian organised
crime gang tried to buy soccer club Lazio through third parties
using funds gained from violence and intimidation, authorities
said on Tuesday.
The plan by the Casalesi clan of the Camorra, the Naples
version of the mafia, came to light as police in Rome served
arrest warrants to 10 people including former Lazio player and
president Giorgio Chinaglia.
In 2006 Lazio president Claudio Lotito was given police
protection after receiving threats from 'ultra' fans who were
allegedly trying to intimidate him into selling to a consortium
led by Chinaglia.
Chinaglia was charged with market-rigging linked to his bid
and had since been a fugitive in the United States. Allegations
that the mafia were behind his bid have only now been revealed.
"He had a significant role because he was used as an
external point of reference for the attempted acquisition," a
source close to the investigation, codenamed "Broken Wings",
Chinaglia said at the time of the bid that he represented
Hungarian pharmaceuticals group Richter Gedeon. The company
denied any interest.
Lazio, who won the second of their two Italian titles in
2000, are stretched financially and finished 12th in Serie A
last season. They are not expected to challenge the top sides
(Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by John Mehaffey)