Acquarone says he is a scapegoat in RCS investigation, and that unjust damage has been done to his reputation
  October 26, 2014 Login  

Current Articles    |   Archives    |   RSS Feeds    |   Search

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Acquarone says he is a scapegoat in RCS investigation, and that unjust damage has been done to his reputation

by VeloNation Press at 7:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Former Giro d’Italia director says he is confident he will be cleared over time

Michele AcquaroneTwo days after it was reported that Giro d’Italia race director Michele Acquarone had been fired by employers RCS Sport as the result of an ongoing fraud investigation, the Italian has defended himself at a press conference in Milan, saying that he is being unfairly singled out and his reputation has been harmed.

Acquarone took over as Giro chief after the 2011 race and gave his version of events at the Circolo della Stampa today. “My choice to be here in front of you is an act of courage but I owed to you and to myself,” he said, according to Tuttobici, then going on to read a statement on the issue.

“With deep regret I inform you that my relationship with RCS is over. The decision was taken unilaterally by RCS and I simply have to take note of it. Similarly I take note that yesterday, after convening this press conference, the news of my dismissal was widespread but, even today, after two months since my publicly disclosed interim suspension and of the internal and external inquiry, RCS has not yet provided any additional information on facts and responsibilities.”

Calls and emails sent by VeloNation to RCS Sport this week have not been answered. Despite the investigation into suspected fraud which is being carried out, the grounds for Acquarone’s dismissal have not yet been made public. It is unclear if RCS Sport feel he is directly involved, if it considers that he should have spotted the problem unfolding, or what other reason it had for its action.

In early October the Italian was sidelined from his position as head of the Giro d’Italia and the COO of RCS Sport, as was former RCS CEO Giacomo Catano.

He and Catano were given the suspensions after RCS Sport said that a possible misappropriation of thirteen million euro had been was detected.

It set up an audit at the time and said that it would do what it could to determine what had happened and who was responsible. Outside experts were called in to coordinate the enquiry.

The administrative director Laura Bertinotti quit her role and another RCS employee, media relations director Matteo Pastore, was also suspended.

The turmoil also saw the chairman Flavio Biondi replaced by Raimondo Zanaboni, who headlined the presentation of the Giro d’Italia route on October 7th.

Acquarone asserted his innocence in his October statement, saying that he was confident that he would be back in his role soon.

“Those who know me, are well aware that my professional style is based on three key concepts: fairness, respect and dialogue,” he wrote then.

“Those who know me, also know that I hold the trust of fans and of people involved in the industry, at the centre of my heart, and if today I can benefit from such trust, it is because I have always worked with greatest transparency and honesty, as well as with total dedication and loyalty to the RCS Group.”

He said that he had nothing to fear from the investigation, and that people could trust in him that he was not involved in what had happened.

Speaking today, he repeated that position and said that he considered he was being made a scapegoat.

“This make the damage caused to my image and my reputation even more clear and serious, by combining my name to the alleged multimillionaire shortage found out in RCS.

“Everyone knows that I have always worked with the greatest effort and with good results and, in the years of my direction, RCS Sport has gained prestige and consideration in the sporting community in Italy and abroad.

Therefore, I really do not know the reasons for which RCS wanted to find in me the scapegoat for a situation that has now become extremely delicate and serious, how the persisting deafening silence of the Group suggests.

Acquarone had been working with the RCS Group for fourteen years in total, and RCS Sport itself for the past five. He took over from former Giro d’Italia chief Angelo Zomegnan after the 2011 race.

He was joined in the press conference by the labour law attorney Sara Huge, with her presence suggesting that he may seek legal action over his dismissal.

Acquarone said that he believed that his name would be cleared. “I totally trust in the criminal investigation underway and in the incoming labour lawsuit to prove my non-involvement in the offenses committed in RCS. As far as I’m concerned I will do my best to help the competent authorities to shine a light on all responsibilities, including those linked to the serious and groundless defamation against me.

“Despite my bitterness for such an end of the relationship with RCS, I will always remain emotionally attached to Giro d’Italia and its fans.

“Today, Giro d’Italia is one of the top Italian examples of excellent in the world and I am proud of all the work I have done to consolidate this prestigious goal.”

It remains to be seen what will happen next for Acquarone, in terms of work, but he insisted that time will heal things. “I feel my strengths, my enthusiasm and the results obtained are stronger than any defamation,” he said, adding that after two months on the sidelines, he couldn’t wait to knuckle down again to what he hopes is “a real exciting project. Anybody who knows me knows that I have ideas and, overall, I have the right determination to realize them.”


Michele Acquarone’s full statement is as follows:


With deep regret I inform you that my relationship with RCS is over.

The decision was taken unilaterally by RCS and I simply have to take note of it.

Similarly I take note that yesterday, after convening this press conference, the news of my dismissal was widespread but, even today, after two months since my publicly disclosed interim suspension and of the internal and external inquiry, RCS has not yet provided any additional information on facts and responsibilities.

This make the damage caused to my image and my reputation even more clear and serious, by combining my name to the alleged multimillionaire shortage found out in RCS.

Everyone knows that I have always worked with the greatest effort and with good results and, in the years of my direction, RCS Sport has gained prestige and consideration in the sporting community in Italy and abroad.

Therefore, I really do not know the reasons for which RCS wanted to find in me the scapegoat for a situation that has now become extremely delicate and serious, how the persisting deafening silence of the Group suggests.

I totally trust in the criminal investigation underway and in the incoming labour lawsuit to prove my non-involvement in the offenses committed in RCS. As far as I’m concerned I will do my best to help the competent authorities to shine a light on all responsibilities, including those linked to the serious and groundless defamation against me.

Despite my bitterness for such an end of the relationship with RCS, I will always remain emotionally attached to Giro d’Italia and its fans.

Today, Giro d’Italia is one of the top Italian examples of excellent in the world and I am proud of all the work I have done to consolidate this prestigious goal.

Looking to the future, I feel my strengths, my enthusiasm and the results obtained are stronger than any defamation, and, after two months in a limbo, I am looking forward to putting myself on the line again, hoping to find a real exciting project. Anybody who knows me knows that I have ideas and, overall, I have the right determination to realize them.

      comments




Subscribe via RSS or daily email

WHAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW
  Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy  Copyright 2008-2013 by VeloNation LLC