Sevilla soccer team president Jose Maria del Nido was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison after being found guilty of cooperating with town hall officials in Marbella who misappropriated public funds.
Del Nido, who denies any wrongdoing while working as a lawyer for the town hall, can appeal the sentence at Spain’s Supreme Court. He was cleared of charges including falsifying documents, improper appropriation of funds and professional dishonesty, according to a copy of the ruling by the Provincial Court of Malaga.
The case dates back to Spain’s decade-long real estate boom in which government officials are accused of receiving kickbacks in exchange for building permits. Del Nido, 54, began to work for the town hall in 1999.
Since 2002 he has been president of Sevilla, which won back-to-back UEFA Cup titles in 2006 and 2007. He is one of the most outspoken critics of the financial dominance of Barcelona and Real Madrid, who get about the same television rights income as the other 18 clubs in Spain’s top-tier La Liga combined.