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Kidnap charge for ex-Valencia chief

Former Valencia club president Juan Soler has been charged in a Spanish court with plotting to kidnap Vicente Soriano, who replaced him as Mestalla chief.

Juan Soler used to be president of Valencia.
Juan Soler used to be president of Valencia.

The former colleagues on the Valencia board pair fell out badly after Soriano pulled out of an agreement made in 2008 to buy Soler’s shares in the club.

In 2013 the Spanish Supreme Court found the deal should have gone through and ordered the payment of 39 million euros.

That payment has reportedly not been made, and the proceedings took a darker turn in recent weeks with Soler -- according to police sources in El Pais -- hiring kidnappers to take Soriano captive and force him to pay over the money.

“There is nothing to say,” said Soler as he left the Valencia courthouse on Wednesday. The businessman, 58, was bailed after the initial court hearing and cannot come within 15 metres of Soriano, whose office is located in the same square in central Valencia as the imputed man’s home.

Soler was president between 2004 and 2008 and was the main backer of the decision to saddle the club with two stadiums -- one it cannot afford to finish, another it cannot now sell due to the local property bubble having burst.

Soriano was vice-president as that move was made, and was eventually forced out of the club by Valencia’s bankers after just one year in charge.

The stadium issue, along with debts of over 300 million euros, mean the club is currently up for sale -- with Wanda Corporation (China), Peter Lim (Singapore businessman), Cerberus Capital Management (USA), Global Emerging Markets (USA) and Mikhail Bosco (Russian entrepreneur) having submitted bids which are currently being analysed by the club and its lender Bankia.

Former Valencia midfielder David Albelda, who captained the side under both presidents, tweeted on Wednesday: “I thought I had seen everything in this life… but this I cannot believe.”


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