Osasuna may have paid Barcelona and Madrid in 2009 - Valladolid president
Players at Barcelona and Real Madrid could have been paid "bonus" money by Osasuna in 2009, according to evidence given during a match-fixing investigation to a judge by Real Valladolid president Carlos Suarez.
Spanish investigators are currently looking into alleged wrongdoing at Osasuna, with 19 individuals having been charged, and the club's former president Miguel Archanco, director Txuma Peralta and long-serving financial controller Angel Vizcay having already spent time in police custody.
The investigation began looking at games played towards the end of the 2013-14 season, with Primera Division matches between Osasuna and Espanyol, Osasuna and Real Betis, and Betis and Valladolid being looked at by the authorities, but they are also looking into earlier seasons.
Called to give evidence by judge Fermin Otamendi, Suarez recalled that Osasuna, then coached by former Madrid and Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho, were in dire relegation trouble towards the end of the 2008-09 season but in their final two games surprisingly beat Barca 1-0 at the Camp Nou and then Madrid 2-1 at home to avoid the drop.
AS and Marca included transcriptions of the court proceedings in which Valladolid president Suarez claimed Osasuna counterpart Patxi Izco had approached him about organising the money needed to make payments to players ahead of those last two final games.
"Osasuna was a team that looked dead and buried at that moment, and then they beat Madrid and Barcelona," Suarez said. "The first thing I thought was: 'You are asking me to help you [with money] to cover these affairs.'"
Pressed to explain, Suarez said he believed he had been asked to take part in a fake transfer deal, under which they could both take short-term financial advantage, and allow Osasuna to hide €4m paid out of their accounts.
"Six or seven years ago, when there was the thing of the games with Real Madrid and Barcelona, it was said they were going to pay €2m," he said. "It was said that the Osasuna president, then Izco, had given them €2m.
"I adore Izco, but as I had already sold Sergio Asenjo for €7.5m, and he had losses, he offered me the chance to present a bill for €4m because that way we would not have to pay taxes. And the following year the bill was returned and the accounts were balanced. It is a trick that is done in football.
"I do not want to say that Izco did it, but it was rumoured that he had made payments to Madrid and Barcelona, although I cannot say that for sure."
The trial is ongoing, with the court having already heard, according to El Pais, of undeclared and unexplained payments made over the years by Osasuna to other teams including Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Sevilla and Espanyol.
No findings have yet been made against any individuals, but more players and officials are expected to be called to give evidence by Pamplona-based judge Otamendi. El Pais also reported that in May 2014, La Liga authorities hired a private investigator to follow players and club officials in a bid to discover any wrongdoing, with those followed including Espanyol captain Sergio Garcia and Real Betis defender Jordi Figueras.
The investigation comes amid a general crackdown that La Liga president Javier Tebas has initiated into match-fixing as well as "maletines" ("briefcases").
"Maletines" -- or "incentive" payments -- are typically used when a team involved in the title race or relegation struggle offers a bonus to a mid-table side to motivate them to beat one of their rivals at the top or bottom of the standings.
While the bonuses have been a regular topic in La Liga in seasons past, Tebas stressed last year that they are "forbidden and seriously punished."