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FOOTBALL

Xamax boss faces fraud charge

The Chechen boss of Swiss football club Neuchatel Xamax, Bulat Chagaev, was charged with forgery on Thursday following four hours of questioning in Geneva, prosecutors said.

Businessman Chagaev, 51, is under investigation after media reports suggested he had submitted a falsified document to prove his solvency during a bankruptcy trial.

“Prosecutor Yves Bertossa confirmed a charge of written forgery without commenting further,” a spokesman for the public prosecutors office was quoted by the Sports information agency as saying.

The football boss was questioned during a lengthy session on Thursday before leaving with lawyer Jacques Barillon, who told waiting journalists his client had been asked about his dealings and also “other people and associations” linked to the affair.

A prosecutor in the canton of Neuchatel said last week that a Bank of America document provided by Chagaev stating that he held $35 million was not produced by the institution.

Barillon said Chagaev told the hearing he had not written the document in question but he recognised that it did not come from the Bank of America.

The businessman, also facing allegations of attempted fraud, could face five years in jail if found guilty.

Over the past fortnight, the Swiss courts have searched the Geneva offices of two of Chagaev’s companies, his home in Saint-Sulpice near Lausanne and the office of Neuchatel Xamax.

Chagaev’s ownership of Xamax has been controversial in Switzerland — earlier this season he sacked the entire coaching staff after the side lost 2-0 to Basel.

More recently, the Swiss Football League fined the club 20,000 francs (€16,440) for flouting licensing rules, after they failed to respond to queries over their budget.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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