Former Neuchatel Xamax president Bulat Chagaev gets three-year prison term

Bulat Chagaev took over the relegation-threatened club in May 2011, saying he wanted to take them into the Champions League.

By: Reuters | Zurich | Published:December 7, 2016 2:51 pm

The Russian businessman, who was president of Swiss football club Neuchatel Xamax when it went bankrupt, was given a three-year prison term on Tuesday.

The tribunal in the canton of Neuchatel said in a statement that Bulat Chagaev had been found guilty of criminal mismanagement, embezzlement, attempted fraud and falsification of documents.

Eighteen months of the sentence was suspended for a period of two years, the court said. Chagaev had denied wrongdoing.

Chagaev took over the relegation-threatened club in May 2011, saying he wanted to take them into the Champions League. Among the initially ambitious plans, there was even talk of a role for former Argentina captain Diego Maradona.

But the club was expelled from the Swiss league the following January on suspicion that a document produced as a financial guarantee was false.

The club was subsequently declared bankrupt and Chagaev was arrested on suspicion of fraud and held on remand for four months.

Four coaches were fired in Chagaev’s first four months in charge of the club.

Before the bankruptcy, Neuchatel were docked eight points over problems in paying players’ wages and social security contributions.

Prior to their downfall, twice Swiss champions Neuchatel took part in the old UEFA Cup on 10 occasions, twice reaching the quarter-finals.

On the second occasion, in 1986, they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Real Madrid but famously beat the Spaniards 2-0 in the home leg.

They also beat Bayern Munich on one of their two European Cup appearances but again lost on aggregate.

Following their bankruptcy, Neuchatel were reformed by a group of local businessman and re-entered the Swiss league in the fifth tier.

They have since risen to second tier, known as the Challenge League, and are second in the table, but 10 points behind leaders FC Zurich.

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