Grande Stevens in corruption probe

Italian law firm Grande Stevens has been caught up in one of the biggest football match-fixing scandals to hit the Italian league.

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 influenced the choice of referees for Juventus matches.

Grande Stevens partner Carlo Re was on the board of statutory auditors.

Juventus, with 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.

Agnelli was known as L’Avvocato (the Lawyer) while Grande Stevens was known as l’avvocato dell’Avvocato (the lawyer of the Lawyer). Agnelli died in 2003.

The firm has declined to comment on the scandal.

The allegations have placed 41 people under formal investigation. Public prosecutors have already questioned Moggi at length and are sifting through evidence that could result in the club’s relegation to Serie B (the Italian second division) and the loss of its national title.

The scandal has reached top members of the Italian football establishment. Fourteen lawyers have already been mentioned in connection with the individuals under investigation for match-fixing.

Moggi and Juventus chief executive Antonio Giraudo have enlisted the help of lawyers Paolo Trofino and Fulvio Gianaria, who helped 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.

Italian football association FIGC has appointed Tito Lucrezio Milella as legal adviser. Milella was head of the association of amateur referees.