ZAGREB (Reuters) – A Croatian court has rejected a charge against Croatia international and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric of giving false testimony in a criminal trial, the court said on Wednesday.
An email to Reuters by the Zagreb municipal criminal court said the court rejected the charge, made by the Croatia state attorney in March, but gave no explanation for its ruling.
The state attorney’s office can appeal against the decision.
Modric testified last year at the trial of a tax official and three former senior officials from the soccer club Dinamo Zagreb, including its former chief executive Zdravko Mamic, about the dates of signing the annexes to his professional contracts which regulated transfer fees.
The state attorney’s office said in June 2017 it was investigating allegations that Modric, awarded Best FIFA men’s player of the year 2018 last month, had given false testimony at the trial.
In June, Mamic was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison, shortly after he left for Bosnia where he lives now. Other two Dinamo officials and the tax official were also sentenced to jail. All of them denied any wrongdoing and have said they would challenge the verdict.
Local media reported that the reason the court had rejected the false testimony charge was that it had been “premature”, in that it could not be raised before there was the final court decision in the tax avoidance trial.
Modric’s lawyer Laura Valkovic told Reuters the defence had argued that the charge was premature.
The final court decision in the case is still pending while an appeal process continues.
Last month Croatia’s state attorney also charged another Croatia international, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, with the same offence as Modric.
(Reporting by Igor Ilic, Editing by William Maclean)