Former Real Betis President Manuel Ruiz de Lopera took almost €30m out of the club according to a new report, claims El Economista.
Two legal experts working for the tax office have produced a 244-page document stating that companies owned by Lopera, who was also the club’s major shareholder, benefited from Betis to the tune of €12.4m between seasons 1993-98 and €17m in the period 1999-2008.
The report claims that in the last nine seasons analysed the difference between revenue generated by the club and the costs assumed by Lopera’s companies was favourable to the latter by over €11m.
Lopera sold 94 per cent of the shares he owned in Betis – 51 per cent of the total shares – to Bitton Sport in July 2010 for the surprisingly low figure of €16m.
This followed an investigation by Sevilla judge Mercedes Alaya, who was looking at the links between Betis and Lopera-owned businesses, and eventually led to him being formally charged with fraud.
However, before the sale could be officially ratified Ayala froze Lopera’s shares and Bitton Sport – a company fronted by Luis Oliver – was left with nothing despite putting down a €1m deposit.
Oliver then hurriedly bought a nominal number of shares from a third party and was voted onto the board of directors by the existing members, all former colleagues of Lopera, allowing him to carry on running the club.
In response, the judge appointed well-respected former Betis, Real Madrid and Spain legend Rafael Gordillo to administrate Lopera’s shares and ensure he was still not involved on the management side of things.
In January 2011, Betis was placed in the hands of the administrators after applying for bankruptcy the previous October, having run up total debts of more than €75m.