SEVEN people have been arrested after several Spanish football clubs were duped by conmen masquerading as wealthy Arab investors.
The elaborate scam involved ‘fake sheiks’ who posed as investors from Egypt and Dubai.
The alleged fraudsters managed to hustle several Spanish football clubs out of sizeable investments – with Getafe hardest hit among them.
In one scheme, they paid a Brazilian waiter to pose as an affluent Arab sheik for meetings with the clubs.
But the operation, based in Barcelona, began to unravel when Getafe realised cheques issued by the presumed Arab sheiks – totalling a hefty €10 million and intended to ‘buy’ the club – were found to bounce.
Unfortunately this was after the clubs had paid large sums of money to the fake sheiks, who insisted they needed it in order to set up the investment.
By the time the clubs realised they were being scammed, the swindlers had already made their exit.
Catalan regional police have since arrested seven people, six from Spain and one from the Dominican Republic.
It is not clear exactly how much money Getafe or the other clubs lost.
The Dubai government claims it had no knowledge of the sham deals.