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By ESPN Staff

Trading of Roma shares briefly suspended

ROME -- Trading of AS Roma shares on the Milan stock exchange was briefly suspended Thursday amid reports that American billionaire George Soros was nearing a deal to purchase the club.

Roma was slated to rise 16 percent before the market opened, forcing the suspension before the opening bell. Trading is automatically suspended if shares drop or rise beyond a 10 percent limit.

A report in the New York Post on Wednesday said New York criminal defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina was on the verge of buying Roma with backing from Soros. Tacopina arrived in Rome on Thursday and was photographed at the airport holding up a Roma scarf.

After trading resumed, AS Roma was up 14.29 percent at $2.11 -- with the larger surge allowed after verifying that the higher price reflected the true market value.

Reports of Soros' interest first appeared last month. Roma and Compagnia Italpetroli SpA, which holds a 67 percent stake in the club, have repeatedly denied that Soros' representatives have made an offer.

The club issued its latest denial Wednesday, saying no accord with anyone for the team had been reached.

Roma called the news reports that Tacopina and the owners or their representatives were meeting to seal a deal within a week as "completely without any basis."

A spokesman with Soros Fund Management LLC declined comment.

Trading of Roma shares was suspended on April 29 amid reports that Soros had withdrawn his offer.

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