Pity poor Grande Stevens. Far from reaping the rewards of its long association with Turin’s powerful Agnelli family, the Italian law firm is embroiled in the match-fixing allegations levelled at one of its biggest clients, Juventus Football Club.
Franzo Grande Stevens, the legendary founder of Grande Stevens, was president of Italian champions Juventus until the entire club board resigned following the release of phone transcripts suggesting that club general manager Luciano Moggi had influenced the choice of referees for Juventus matches.
Grande Stevens partner Carlo Re was on the board of statutory auditors.
Juventus, which has an annual revenue of $278m (£147.69m), is a major client of Grande Stevens through former Fiat and Juventus owner Gianni Agnelli, with whom Grande Stevens had worked for years.
But speculation in Italy is that Grande Stevens could do the unthinkable and sue former board mates Moggi and club chief executive Antonia Giraudo.
A keen observer of the scandal told The Lawyer: “Grande Stevens could sue. If the conduct of Moggi and Giraudo causes Juventus to be demoted, that action is certainly possible.”
Meanwhile, around 100 club shareholders are preparing their own action against Moggi and Giraudo. The club has lost more than 40 per cent of its value since 9 May and is now worth around £112m, down £75m from £187m.
The shareholders have drafted in sole practitioners Antonio Parisotto and Giovanni Ferrari to start proceedings once the investigators have collected all the evidence. The allegations have placed 41 people under formal investigation. Public prosecutors have questioned Moggi at length and are sifting through evidence that could result in the club being relegated to Serie B (the Italian second division) and being stripped of the Serie A title it won this year.
Moggi and Giraudo have enlisted the help of lawyers Paolo Trofino and Fulvio Gianaria, who helped to extricate the club from a player doping scandal in November 2004.
Sports lawyer Luigi Chiappero, himself a former director of the club, is representing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as he faces allegations of illegal gambling.
Grande Stevens has declined to comment on the scandal.