BRUSSELS – Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko was released without charges after being questioned amid a corruption probe that involves soccer clubs in Belgium and six other countries, sources in the prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.
Though Leko was not charged, the Croatian remains under suspicion of money laundering related to taxes, according to the sources.
Leko’s attorney, Walter Van Steenbrugge, emphasized that his client is not suspected of involvement with match-fixing.
Authorities are to review the questionable tax return, the lawyer said, adding that Leko will oversee Brugge’s training session scheduled for Friday.
The former Malaga player was arrested Wednesday and spent the night in custody before being questioned by a trial judge as part of an investigation that involves 28 people, including player agents, referees, club executives and an attorney, among others.
A total of seven people have been formally charged.
The enquiry involves nine Belgium soccer teams: Anderlecht, Brugge, Genk, Kortrijk, Mechelen, Oostende, Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen, Gent, and Standard Liege.
Belgian police, in cooperation with European Union agency Eurojust, carried out 44 searches in Belgium, while 14 similar operations were conducted in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia.
The investigation centers on prominent agents Dejan Veljkovic and Mogi Bayat, who allegedly led a conspiracy to conceal illicit commissions and manipulate player transfers.