One day we’ll be able to concentrate again on football in Montreal. With the now very tired and boring Piatti-gate about to conclude, another off-field distraction looks set to run and run, this time involving Impact Sporting Director, Olivier Renard.
As revealed on the RTBF website, Renard’s former club Standard Liege is set to sue their former employee as well as former coach Aleksander Jankovic for a case of illegal retro-commissions connected to player transfers, paid by Dejan Veljkovic, a player’s agent at the heart of what Belgian football knows as Footgate.
Veljkovic was charged by Belgian authorities for money laundering, membership of a criminal organization and bribery in October 2018 and released under strict conditions just over a month later after agreeing to provide information to the authorities in return for a reduced sentence. He has thus become the first ‘repentant’ in Belgian judicial history.
As revealed on the RTBF website, we learn that Standard is implicated in a fraudulent system set up by Dejan Veljkovic, and which directly concerns Olivier Renard, sports director of Les Rouches between 2016 and 2019, as well as Aleksandar Jankovic, coach of Standard between 2016 and 2017. Both men had also been with KV Mechelen prior to joining Standard Liege.
RTBF claims that Bruno Venanzi, president of Standard, had signed various dubious conventions; false invoices or disguised scouting contracts used by Veljkovic to, on the one hand, avoid tax, but also pay back secret commissions, in particular to Renard and Jankovic.
Also according to RTBF, Venanzi was interviewed by investigators in Hasselt and did not seem to have any knowledge of the retro-commissions.
Bruno Venanzi then decided to file a complaint for fraud, breach of trust, forgery and forgery, against 6 people, including Olivier Renard, Dejan Veljkovic and Aleksandar Jankovic.
Contacted by RTBF, Jankovic and Renard refused to comment.
Jankovic, currently with the China u20 World Cup squad training in Marbella, Spain clarified further: “This is the first time I have heard of this….”
And in Florida when contacted by RTBF, Olivier Renard simply stated, “I have nothing to say about this.”
However as reported by Journal de Montreal, Olivier Renard made the following more detailed declaration transmitted to various media outlets -
“None of the charges arbitrarily brought against me are correct. I’ve never received a [retro] commission on any transfer whatsoever. The entire remuneration obtained during my career comes from payments made by the clubs which have called upon my services and constitutes the strict consequence of my work.
“This defamatory and slanderous information prejudices me. It affects my loved ones and damages my image. I therefore reserve a judicial reaction to this matter.”
It is undoubtedly the continuation of a soap opera which has already shaken Belgian football to its roots. Montreal will be holding its collective breath hoping Olivier Renard is cleared of all implications so to concentrate on taking his new club to the next level.