Antonio Conte fighting to recover Ksh3.9 billion from scammer

By Brian Okoth On Sat, 29 Aug, 2020 15:11 | 3 mins read
Antonio Conte was appointed Inter Milan head coach in May 2019 on a three-year contract worth Ksh1.5 billion a season. [PHOTO | COURTESY]
Antonio Conte was appointed Inter Milan head coach in May 2019 on a three-year contract worth Ksh1.5 billion a season. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

Inter Milan head coach Antonio Conte reportedly lost £27million (Ksh3.9 billion) to an Italian scammer, and is now in court seeking to recoup the money.

Italian newspaper La Vetita reports that the former Chelsea and Juventus manager has been in court for the last two months seeking to recover the colossal amount of money.

Conte allegedly invested billions of shillings in a high returns-promising project suggested to him by England-based Italian financier Massimo Bochicchio, an ex-banker in the United Kingdom.

Bochicchio convinced eight people, including Conte, to invest in his company, Kidman.

Bochicchio had promised the investors that they would receive their funds-plus-interest back by June 30, 2020. That did not happen.

The people involved in the scheme, thereafter, sent an email asking for payment on July 7 only to discover that the address Bochicchio had given them was fake.

The eight aggrieved investors consequently filed complaints with authorities.

Reports by the Daily Mail say English judge David Foxton ruled that Bochicchio must refund the monies he owes the eight investors, and, on top of it, pay the promised interests.

Conte had reportedly been assured that Bochicchio’s firm, Kidman, was connected to and guaranteed by HSBC Bank PLC, a British multinational banking and financial services organisation. Bochicchio had worked for the lender until 2012 before starting his own business.

Conte brought to court the document showing that Kidman and HSBC Bank had a connection, but it was established that the document was falsified. HSBC confirmed that it has no role in Kidman, but Bochicchio denied any involvement in the fabrication.

The court determined that the money invested by the eight complainants was not used by Bonicchio in the ways he had originally promised. 

Bochicchio has since had a high number of assets frozen, including luxury Miami and London properties as well as bank accounts totalling around $61.4million (Ksh6.6 billion).

One of the properties is in Holland Park, London, where Conte lived while Chelsea manager. 

The court has ordered payment of £6.5million (Ksh938.4 million) to Luxembourg company Palesa Sarl, and £27m (Ksh3.9 billion) to Conte, and Bochicchio risks seizure of his assets if he does not comply. 

There were rumours last week that Conte was seeking to leave Inter Milan after guiding the Italian side to a second place finish and UEFA Europa runner’s up medal in one season. However, on August 25, the Nerazzurri top management confirmed that the 51-year-old will continue at the helm of the club next season.

Conte held a “constructive meeting focused on continuity and strategy” with the club’s Chinese president Steven Zhang and team management which lasted just over three hours in a villa outside Milan.

“The two parties laid the foundations to continue working together on the club’s project,” the club said in a statement.

Inter opted for continuity after finishing second just one point behind champions Juventus, with the Chinese owners also confirming confidence in the entire management team.

Conte will now lead the club’s bid to topple Juventus with coaching novice Andrea Pirlo having replaced Maurizio Sarri as coach at the nine-time reigning Serie A champions.

Conte’s departure was being heralded following an outburst after Inter Milan’s 3-2 Europa League final defeat to Sevilla last Friday, August 21.

“Now we’ll return to Milan, we’ll take a couple of days off. We will try to plan the future of Inter with or without me,” said Conte, after the team missed out on a first trophy since 2011.

“It has been a very tough season from all points of view, the best decision must be taken for the good of Inter, with the utmost cordiality.”

Conte took over in May 2019 on a three-year contract worth a reported 12 million euros (Ksh1.5 billion) a season.

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