Luca Modric questioned over alleged false testimony

Croatian prosecutors on Wednesday questioned Real Madrid’s Luka Modric over his alleged false testimony at the trial of Dinamo Zagreb’s powerful former boss, Zdravko Mamic.

“I came here to present my defence and tell the truth as every time so far,” Modric told reporters after the questioning in the eastern town of Osijek, where the trial is being held, the state-run HINA news agency reported.

“My conscience is clear,” the 31-year-old Croatia captain said.

“I’m certain that eventually it will be shown that I did not commit any criminal act.”

In June the prosecutors opened a probe of Modric whom they suspect of giving false testimony during Mamic’s trial, which is punishable with up to five years in jail.

Mamic is accused — along with his brother Zoran Mamic and two others — of abuse of power and graft that cost the former Croatian champions more than 15 million euros ($16.9 million), and the state 1.5 million euros.

Cash was allegedly embezzled through fictitious deals related to player transfers.

Modric testified in mid-June over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham Hotspur.From there he joined Real Madrid in 2012.

The prosecutors alleged that, when questioned at the tribunal, Modric falsely said he had signed an annex to a contract with Dinamo over conditions for future transfers in July 2004.

When questioned during investigations in 2015, Modric said the annex was signed after he joined Tottenham, according to the prosecutors.

Another Croatian international, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, is to appear as witness in September.

The 28-year-old is expected to be questioned over his 2010 transfer from Dinamo to French side Lyon.

The trial, which opened in April, has attracted huge interest from media and residents of Osijek where it is being held reportedly to avoid Mamic’s influence on judges in the capital Zagreb.

Mamic is considered the most powerful man in Croatian football and his connections extend into many spheres of public life.

Most Croatian football fans see him as the real boss of the Croatian Football Federation and believe its formal chief Davor Suker is merely Mamic’s puppet.

Modric, who grew up as a refugee in Zadar on the Dalmatian coast, is highly popular in Croatia where he has a reputation for modesty.

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