ZAGREB: Croatian prosecutors again charged Thursday the national team captain Luka Modric and former international Dejan Lovren for giving false testimony in a major football-related corruption trial.
Both players appeared in 2017 as witnesses during the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic providing details of their transfers from the current Croatia champions.
At the time, Modric testified over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. He went on to join Real Madrid in 2012.
Lovren provided details about his 2010 transfer from Dinamo to French side Lyon, where he is currently playing.
Both players were charged with perjury in 2018, but the charges were later dropped, due to lack of evidence – that year for Modric and in early 2019 for Lovren.
On Thursday, prosecutors in the eastern town of Osijek indicted two people, citing only the years of their birth, for “giving false testimony”. Local media identified them as Modric and Lovren.
Modric is charged with providing false testimony “on June 13, 2017 before the Osijek county court”, a prosecutors’ statement, said citing the date when the star midfielder testified during the Mamic trial.
Lovren was indicted over on Sept 1, 2017.
Perjury is punishable by up to five years in prison in Croatia.
Mamic and the three others were found guilty of charges of abuse of power and corruption that cost Dinamo more than €15 million (US$16.3 million), and the state €1.5 million.
According to the indictment, cash was embezzled through fictitious deals related to player transfers.
Mamic, considered the kingpin of the Balkan country’s football and currently hiding in neighbouring Bosnia, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail.
Modric was charged just days after Real Madrid said the 37-year-old will stay with the club for another season after renewing his deal until June 2024.
The veteran player took Croatia to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.