MILAN (Reuters) – An anti-Mafia official at Milan’s city council called on Wednesday for the Chinese buyers of soccer club AC Milan to reveal their identities, saying town hall would notify anti-money laundering authorities if there was not full disclosure.
In August, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi agreed to sell the Serie A club to China’s Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing, which is backed by Haixia Capital and entrepreneur Yonghong Li.
But the full make-up of the consortium was not disclosed and, according to a source, has yet to be finalised.
In a statement, Sino-Europe Sports (SES) said AC Milan belonged to Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest until completion of the deal.
“Upon completion, SES will comply with all aspects of the existing law regarding its holding in AC Milan, including any obligation to communicate the list of its shareholders,” SES said.
An Italy-based spokesman for Sino-Europe Sports was not immediately available for comment.
David Gentili, a politician from the center-left Democratic Party who heads the city council’s anti-Mafia commission, told reporters on Wednesday that the council had a duty to ask about the identities of the club’s “effective owners”.
He said that if this was not disclosed, council authorities would notify the Bank of Italy’s unit responsible for fighting money-laundering.
The council owns AC Milan’s home stadium, San Siro, which is also used by cross-town rival Inter Milan. The two clubs pay the council around 14 million euros ($15 million) a year for the use of the stadium, Gentili said.
The AC Milan deal is due to be completed in early December, with the full list of investors expected to be released at the time of the closing.
Sino-Europe Sports is still finalizing the consortium, a source familiar with the situation said this month.
Besides Haixia Capital and Yonghong Li, there will be two or three other investors, the source added.
($1 = 0.9342 euros)
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Writing by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Mark Bendeich)