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Almunia criticised the European Ombudsman for issuing a press release revealing a confidential state aid investigation into four clubs the day before it was officially announced.
In a letter to the EU’s Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, the Spanish Commissioner also branded “intentionally misleading” a second press announcement, which claimed credit for the probe being opened.
O’Reilly, who handles complaints about the EU from the public, yesterday (16 June) published the 20 December letter and her 17 January response on her office’s website before publicising them on its official Twitter account.
Investors in other European football clubs complained to the Ombudsman because no investigation had been opened since a 2009 objection over the tax advantages. The other two clubs are Osasuna and Athletic Club Bilbao, who Almunia supports.
According to the 17 December release, the investors alleged, “the Commission’s inaction in this case might be linked to the fact that the commissioner responsible supports one of the football teams in question and was a minister in the Spanish government that decided on the tax advantages at the time.”
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