19.05.2021 20:18 h

Bosnia frees fugitive former Zagreb coach

The ex-coach of Croatian football club Dinamo Zagreb was released by a Bosnian court on Wednesday, his lawyer said, shortly after he was held on an international arrest warrant.

Zoran Mamic resigned from his job at the reigning Croatia champions in March after being sentenced to four years and eight months in jail for fraud involving player transfers, including the move of star Luka Modric to Tottenham in 2008.

He then failed to turn up to start his jail term and fled to neighbouring Bosnia, where he also holds a passport, prompting Croatia to put out an international arrest warrant.

"Zoran Mamic will not be able to leave the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, his passport has been seized, but he is free to move in Bosnia," his lawyer Zdravko Rajic told AFP.

His brother, Zdravko Mamic, who served as Dinamo Zagreb executive director and was a dominant figure in Croatian football, fled to Bosnia after being handed six and a half years behind bars in 2018 for embezzlement.

The Mamic brothers, as well as former club director and a tax inspector, were all found guilty of corruption that cost Dinamo more than 15 million euros ($18 million) and the state 1.5 million euros.

They used front companies to siphon off cash from player transfers including current Real Madrid midfielder Modric and defender Dejan Lovren, who left for Lyon in 2010.

Both players appeared as witnesses, providing details of their transfers from Dinamo, and were initially charged with perjury after testifying at the trial, but the charges were later dropped.

Another trial involving the Mamic brothers and four others for embezzling millions of euros from Dinamo Zagreb opened before a local tribunal in March.