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Xamax owner to be prosecuted in Neuchâtel

Justice authorities in canton Neuchâtel say they will lead a probe into alleged fraud and mismanagement involving Neuchâtel Xamax owner Bulat Chagaev.

Chagaev, the Chechen businessman who bought the football club last year, is reportedly on hunger strike in prison in Geneva.

Officials in Neuchâtel and Geneva, where Chagaev’s trading company has an office, opened investigations into Chagaev’s business activities last November. He was arrested in Geneva on January 26 of this year, just hours after the club was declared bankrupt and dropped out of the Swiss Super League.

Before that, the league had revoked Xamax’s licence because of suspected fraud and a failure by the club to prove that it could meet its financial obligations. Its debts are estimated to be at least SFr8 million ($8.7 million).

On Thursday evening Chagaev’s lawyer, Jacques Barillon, said in a statement quoted on the Swiss news agency that Chagaev had been refusing food since the day of his arrest and that his client felt he was “not benefiting from the basic rights recognised in all democracies of a man presumed innocent”.

Chagaev is opposing his immediate transfer to a prison in canton Neuchâtel, added his lawyer.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR