Dinamo Zagreb coach quits after receiving prison sentence
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Zoran Mamic quit as Dinamo Zagreb coach after Croatia’s Supreme Court confirmed his nearly five-year prison sentence for tax evasion and fraud, only days before the league champions play a Europa League match against Tottenham.
“Although I do not feel guilty, as I announced earlier, if the verdict is final, I accept it as such and resign from the position of head coach and sports director of GNK Dinamo,” Mamic said in a statement late Monday. “I wish the club a lot of luck and sporting success in its future work.”
Mamic has no further avenue for appeal, and will have to go to prison upon receiving the formal notification of the court ruling.
Mamic and his brother Zdravko, a former Dinamo Zagreb executive director, were charged with embezzling the equivalent of $18 million from the sale of Dinamo Zagreb players to foreign clubs, and for tax evasion worth $2 million.
The Mamic brothers were suspected of embezzlement through fictitious deals made during transfers of several former Dinamo players to foreign clubs, including Luka Modric to Tottenham in 2008.
The Real Madrid midfielder, a former FIFA player of the year, was a key witness during the trial, testifying about his financial deals with the Mamics.
Zoran Mamic was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison. Zdravko Mamic, who was sentenced to six years and six months, fled to Bosnia shortly after a lower court passed the original sentences in 2018.
Zdravko Mamic, formerly a highly influential figure in Croatian soccer, held a live media conference from Bosnia, denying any wrongdoing and saying that if he and his brother are sentenced for tax evasion, then Modric and former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren should also be held accountable.
“If me and my brother have to return the money, than Lovren and Luka Modric have to do the same,” he said, accusing them of not paying taxes in Croatia stemming from their transfers from Dinamo. “They are accomplices. The money is with them.”
The Supreme Court also confirmed a three-year prison sentence for former Dinamo director Damir Vrbanovic.
The club said Mamic would be replaced as coach by Damir Krznar.
Dinamo is scheduled to host Tottenham on Thursday in the Europa League. Tottenham won the first leg 2-0 last week.
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