New delay in stadium embezzlement case that threatens Cellino’s ownership of Leeds United

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino.
Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino.
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THE IS Arenas case in which Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino faces embezzlement charges has been delayed again after new judges were appointed to proceedings.

The trial of Cellino and others involved in the construction of the temporary stadium in Cagliari in 2012 has been postponed until February 20, 2017, the latest in a series of hold-ups.

Italian prosecutors began giving evidence in May, alleging that Cellino was one of several people responsible for embezzlement, forgery and breaches of planning rules.

The IS Arenas was built during his time as owner of Serie A club Cagliari and has since been dismantled.

Cellino, who planned to travel to Miami this week, denies the charges against him and was not in court in Cagliari yesterday.

Prosecutors have already accepted plea bargains from a number of other defendants.

The case could be a threat to Cellino’s position as owner of Leeds, potentially breaching the Football League’s ‘Owners and Directors Test’, but yesterday’s postponement comes at a time of intense takeover speculation at Elland Road.

Suggestions of an imminent investment deal involving Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani were fuelled on Sunday when Radrizzani was spotted in the West Stand during Leeds’ 2-0 Championship defeat to Newcastle United.

Radrizzani, who has been discussing the purchase of a stake in Leeds with Cellino for several months, was joined in the ground by Andre Tegner, the head of investments and strategy at Aser Media, a firm set up by Radrizzani.

Despite the negotiations between Cellino and Radrizzani – rumoured to have the backing of Chinese technology firm Baofeng – the Football League is yet to be asked to approve any buy-out.