ATHENS (Reuters) - A Greek court ruled on Wednesday that Olympiakos Piraeus and Nottingham Forest owner Vangelis Marinakis is to face trial on charges of match-fixing in Greece.
The 50-year-old shipping magnate is the most prominent among 28 people who will be put on trial on felony charges following a probe on suspect Greek football match outcomes. The three-bench Athens Court of Appeal ruling came after a 2-1 majority vote.
Marinakis, who later on Wednesday said he would hand over the Olympiakos presidency to the club’s vice-president Yiannis Moralis “until the end of the legal process”, denied any wrongdoing during the investigation.
According to a document seen by Reuters, Marinakis also faces misdemeanor charges of allegedly colluding with others to altering the outcome of fixtures.
A date for the trial has not yet been announced, but court sources said it could possibly take place next year.
In a statement on the Olympiakos website, Marinakis said: “The Athens Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected the accusations of a criminal organization, fraud, extortion and instigation to cause an explosion as completely unfounded...
“My innocence for these remaining accusations will be confirmed in the process that will follow...
”...until the end of this legal process - and for the few months left until I am completely cleared of all charges - I propose to the Board of Directors that the mayor of Piraeus and vice president of Olympiakos, Mr Yiannis Moralis, should take over the presidency of the club.”
Among the other people accused are former Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) officials, former referees and referee officials, players.
The cases which covered a period between 2011 and 2013, are the latest in a long line of corruption inquiries into Greek football.
Reporting by Graham Wood Additional reporting by Constantinos Georgizas; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt and Ken Ferris