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Soccer-Ex-Valencia president Soler handed two-year prison sentence

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(Reuters) – Former Valencia president Juan Soler was sentenced to two years in prison for conspiring to kidnap a former colleague and break into his home, Spanish media reported on Tuesday.

Citing a filing from a regional court in Valencia, newspapers El Mundo and El Pais said Soler, who was club president between 2004 and 2008, had been found guilty of plotting to kidnap Vicente Soriano, his former vice-president.

Two other people were also convicted at trial.

They then intended to break into his home in order to steal 15 million euros (13.3 million pounds) which they believed he had hidden, added the reports.

Soler and two other males were given the two-year prison sentence and ordered to pay 3,000 euros in compensation to the victim.

A fourth male was given a reduced sentence of one year and one month for informing police of the criminal plot.

Soriano was Soler’s vice-president at Valencia for four years and later served as president for 11 months, resigning in July 2009.

The pair had a bitter legal dispute after Soriano promised to buy Soler’s shares in the club for 85 million euros with the intention of selling them to investment group Dalport who later pulled out of the deal.

The case was taken to Spain’s supreme court and in Feb. 2013 Soriano was ordered to pay Soler 20 million euros, with Dalport ordered to pay 39 million euros.

Soler did not preside over any trophy wins at Valencia. He took charge in Oct. 2004, five months after they won the La Liga title and the UEFA Cup, and resigned for health reasons two months before they won the Copa del Rey in 2008.

During his presidency, the club began constructing the Nuevo Mestalla stadium but building was halted less than two years later for financial reasons due to Spain’s deep economic crisis.

(Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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