The captain of the Croatian national team, Luka Modric, and a former member of the national team, Dejan Lovren, were charged with delivering false testimony in a major football-related corruption trial in Croatia on Thursday.
Both players testified as witnesses in 2017 during the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb coach Zdravko Mamic, presenting information on their transfers from the team that was then holding the title of Croatian champions.
During that time period, Modric testified on the specifics of his move from Dinamo to the club Tottenham Hotspur of the Premier League in the year 2008. After that, in 2012, he signed up with Real Madrid.
Lovren offered information on his move from Dinamo to the French team Lyon in 2010, which is the club for which he presently plays.
In 2018, both players were accused of perjury, however the allegations were eventually withdrawn owing to a lack of evidence. For Modric, the charges were dismissed in the same year, while for Lovren, they were dropped in early 2019.
On Thursday, prosecutors in the town of Osijek in the eastern region of the country charged two individuals with “giving false testimony” by mentioning just the years in which the individuals were born. They were recognized as Modric and Lovren by the regional media.
A statement released by authorities indicated that Modric is accused with presenting false testimony “on June 13, 2017 before the Osijek county court.” This date refers to the day that the star midfielder testified in the Mamic trial.
On September 1, 2017, Lovren was indicted for the incident in question.
In Croatia, committing perjury can result in a jail sentence of up to five years.
Mamic and the three others were found guilty of accusations of abuse of authority and corruption, which resulted in costs to Dinamo exceeding 15 million euros ($16.3 million) and to the state totaling 1.5 million euros.
According to the indictment, monies was misappropriated through the creation of bogus transactions involving player transfers.
Mamic, who is presently hiding in the neighboring nation of Bosnia after being sentenced to six and a half years in prison, is known as the kingpin of the football scene in the Balkan country.
The accusation against Modric came only a few days after Real Madrid announced that the 37-year-old player will continue to play for the club after extended his contract through June of 2024.
The seasoned player led Croatia all the way to the finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.