Parma president Giampietro Manenti has been arrested over allegations of money laundering during his takeover of the club, according to widespread reports in Italy.
The Serie A club have been plagued with financial difficulties all season and are on the brink of bankruptcy,which has seen them deducted points twice for not paying players and staff.
Italian news agency ANSA claim that Manenti, who bought the club for just €1 in February, is one of several people who have been arrested following over 60 house searches across Italy.
A statement from the Guardia di Finanza – an arm of law enforcement responsible for monitoring smuggling and financial crime – confirmed the arrest of 22 people “for crimes of embezzlement, conspiracy, computer fraud, use of cloned payment cards and mafia-style money laundering”.
The timing could scarcely be worse for Parma, who could be declared insolvent or put into administration on Thursday at a bankruptcy tribunal.
Manenti had claimed on Tuesday there was no way he would be willing to sell Parma, although he admitted it was one of three possibilities in front of him.
“I have never said that I will sell Parma. I merely noted there were three options: we sell, we go forward or we go bankrupt,” he told reporters. “I see no other alternatives. Having said that, I absolutely will not sell Parma.”
Relegation to Serie B now looks inevitable for Roberto Donadoni’s men, who are 16 points from safety.