Spanish public prosecutors said Monday they have asked that a probe into allegations FC Barcelona football club illegally bought a transplant liver for their cancer-stricken ex-player Eric Abidal be reopened.
Barcelona public prosecutors on Friday sent a written request asking that the investigation into “the Abidal case” be renewed, Spain’s public prosecution service said in a statement.
Online newspaper El Confidencial reported earlier this month that wiretaps from a probe into corruption involving then-Barcelona president Sandro Rosell indicated that the club may have illegally procured the new liver which Abidal, a former France international, received in April 2012.
Contacted by AFP after the report was published, a Barcelona court said it had investigated a possible crime of organ trafficking for more than a year before deciding not to proceed because of a lack of evidence. Abidal, who is now Barcelona’s sporting director, maintains that his cousin Gerard was the actual donor.
The club and Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic which carried out the transplant also denied any irregularities in Abidal’s transplant. Spain’s National Transplant Organisation, which is run by the health ministry, investigated Abidal’s transplant and said last week that it was carried out “according to the law”. Rosell denied the El Confidencial report in an interview published by El Mundo.
He is due to face trial on charges of money laundering in connection with Brazilian TV rights sales and was also investigated for the deal which brought Neymar to Barcelona. Abidal, 38, resumed his playing career a year after he received the transplant before retiring in 2014.