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Last Updated: Friday, 13 October 2006, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Police move in over Lazio shares
Lazio fans at Rome's Olympic Stadium in March 2006
Lazio fans showed support for Chinaglia and contempt for Lotito
Italian police are conducting a major investigation into suspected extortion and attempts to influence share prices at Lazio football club.

Eight suspects are in custody and an arrest warrant has been issued for former Lazio striker and ex-club president Giorgio Chinaglia.

The value of Lazio shares jumped 34% earlier this year amid rumours of an imminent takeover bid.

Lazio was also hit by a match-fixing scandal involving top Italian clubs.

Mr Chinaglia, thought to be abroad, is accused of starting rumours that inflated Lazio's share price by announcing that a Hungarian pharmaceuticals group was interested in buying the club.

Giorgio Chinaglia (right) with Claudio Lotito
Chinaglia (right) was a star player for Lazio in the 1970s
"The warrants regard communications, which lacked any basis in fact, which were circulated in the early months of this year by a few individuals about how a foreign group was interested in buying a controlling stake in the club," the Rome police statement said.

Neither Mr Chinaglia nor the football club gave an immediate comment on the announcement.

While five of the arrest warrants were reportedly for market rigging, four were for fans who allegedly tried to intimidate Lazio president Claudio Lotito into selling the club.

He has claimed death threats were made against him.


SEE ALSO
Italian football in crisis
01 Jun 06 |  Europe

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