Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says his mind is totally free and his conscience is clean as regards the match fixing allegation that was re opened in spain.
Real Zaragoza’s 2-1 win against Levante on May 21, 2011 has been subjected to investigation by Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutors’ office over payments related to match fixing allegation
Herrera played for Zaragoza at the time and may be facing trials as the case has been reopened by the judge in Valencia
Ander Herrera insists his ‘conscience is clear’ over match-fixing allegations in Spain
The case refers to a match involving Herrera at his first club in Spain, Real Zaragoza
The timescale remains unclear and the 28-year-old maintains his innocence, with his representative reissuing a statement first released in December 2014.
‘I have never had and will never have anything to do with manipulating match results,’ Herrera said.
‘If I am ever called to testify in any judicial hearing, I’ll be happy to attend, as my conscience is totally clear.
‘I love football and I believe in fair play, both on and off the pitch.’
In May 2011, Zaragoza beat Levante to stay in La Liga, but this game is now under suspicion
The Spanish midfielder has been warned that he faces being ordered into the witness stand with 33 other footballers including Atletico Madrid midfielder Gabi over the ‘suspect’ match in May 2011.
Zaragoza’s then manager Javier Aguirre also faces trial along with others including the club’s former sporting director Antonio Prieto and its ex-owner Agapito Iglesias.
The trial, seen as a certainty in Spain, is expected to be at least six months away. Respected regional newspaper Las Provincias claimed the 42 people involved could face prison sentences ranging from six months to four years if convicted.
Reports in Spain say the main basis for the reopening of the case is the £848,450 Zaragoza paid into the accounts of Aguirre, Prieto and nine of their players days ahead of the May 21, 2011 match – and the scarce use Levante players made during the following weeks of their credit card and bank accounts.
Large payments were made to Zaragoza players, which they are accused of passing to Levante
El Pais said investigators suspect the Zaragoza players returned the cash deposited in their accounts to club managers so it could be passed on to the Levante players.
It reported anti-corruption prosecutor Alejandro Luzon named Herrera as the recipient of two cash sums of £44,000 and £35,000.
Prison sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders normally end up being suspended.
If the case does come to court, Herrera will be required to attend the trial in Spain.
The judicial investigation into alleged match-fixing over the May 2011 Levante-Zaragoza match began in January 2015.
Investigating magistrate Isabel Rodriguez provisionally archived her probe last summer, but was asked to reconsider her original ruling last month after an appeal was lodged with a higher regional court.
She has now concluded that she feels there could be grounds for a trial – and paved the way for state prosecutors to formally accuse those under investigation of wrongdoing in a written indictment and request the opening of trial proceedings.
Defence lawyers for those accused could launch a counter-appeal but it would be unlikely to succeed.
Predictions are that it will ‘five to six months’ before the trial date is known.
Any trial would take place in public, with all the accused including the footballers having to attend.
Judicial investigations in Spain like this one into alleged match-fixing take place behind closed doors in Spain and can take years to complete.
Trials are the only part of the judicial process that are open to the press and public under Spanish criminal law and are normally much shorter than in the UK.
Formal charges against suspects are only normally laid just before trial.
Investigating magistrates – judges who carry out pre-trial criminal probes – are a feature of the French and Spanish legal systems but do not exist in England.