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Barcelona Director,Abidal docked for illegal liver transplant

Barcelona Director,Abidal docked for illegal liver transplant

Sandro Rosell, the former president of Barcelona, and Eric Abidal arrived at court on Friday to testify as part of the investigation into the legality of Abidal’s liver transplant.

Abidal, now the director of football at the club, was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 while still a player at the Nou Camp.

 

Spanish daily newspaper La Vanguardia adds that as well as testimonies from both Rosell and Abidal, Juanjo Castillo, who used to work at Barcelona, has also been asked to provide his account to investigators as to any potential role in the acquirement of Abidal’s new liver.

Abidal’s cousin, Gerard Armand, was named as the donor at the time of the operation but concerns have grown since and he testified to investigators on November 8.  Armand denies earning any money to donate his liver for Abidal but the Spanish National Guard have re-opened the case after a breakthrough last year.

In July 2018, Spanish paper El Confidencial confirmed that ‘at least four phone calls had been intercepted’ in which Rosell ‘implicitly admitted having tried to buy an illegal liver’ for Abidal.

The same publication gave an interview with Armand for the first time, days after his testimony in court, in which he admits to being ‘fearful’ that something untoward may have happened.

When quizzed on the nature of the intercepted calls from Rosell, Armand told El Confidencial: ‘I was stunned. I am the one who has given the liver. I did not understand anything at all. People from my family came to see me.

‘I was a month and a half in the hospital. And when I read that the liver that Eric received was perhaps not mine, I was stunned.

‘I first thought that it was barbaric, since I was the liver donor. Then, after several months, I asked myself many questions. I tried to imagine all the possibilities.

‘I didn’t understand anything at all and I still don’t understand it. That is why I appeared before court, because I want to know if someone made a profit from my donation.’

The reports in Spanish media 12 months ago regarding the intercepted calls lead to Barcelona releasing a statement to deny claims of illegality in what they feel are reports causing ‘damage’ to the club’s reputation.

Barcelona’s statement in 2018 read: ‘In light of stories published in relation to the liver transplant received by the club’s former player and current Technical Secretary, Eric Abidal, FC Barcelona roundly deny any irregularity in the matter, as have Abidal and the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona facility.

‘The stories omit an important fact, as this case was closed by a Barcelona court on May 18th. This omission has caused damage to the reputation of Eric Abidal, all of the organisations involved in the transplant procedures, FC Barcelona and former club president Sandro Rosell. ‘The club are saddened by the lack of rigour in the spreading of such information about such a sensitive issue, and reaffirm our commitment to Eric Abidal and his foundation to help improve the lives of children and young people affected by similar medical treatments.’

Abidal subsequently followed up the club’s statement with one of his own in response to the claims that his cousin’s liver may not have been the one he received.

He said: ‘I feel obliged to communicate my annoyance and sadness in relations to today’s news about my alleged illegal liver transplant.

‘Out of respect for my family, the medical team, and everyone who has undergone a similar situation, I would like to sincerely apologise if at any point there have been doubts about the unsoundness of the news published today.

‘My cousin Gerard donated his liver to save my life and for this I am truly grateful to him. Existing procedures and protocols were followed at all times and all the medical documentation that proves so is available.’

 

 

 

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