TOULOUSE – Eric Abidal’s cousin has said that he “didn’t take a penny” from Barcelona over allegations the club illegally bought a transplant liver for their former player.
Earlier this week, Spanish public prosecutors said they had asked for a probe into the matter to be reopened.
Online newspaper El Confidencial had reported earlier this month that wiretaps from a corruption probe involving then-Barca president Sandro Rosell indicated that the club may have illegally procured the new liver which Abidal, a former France international, received in April 2012 from Gerard Armand.
But Armand was adamant that there had been nothing untoward.
“Nothing, not a penny. How can I wonder about it? I simply gave an organ to save a member of my family,” he told French newspaper La Depeche du Midi.
“I didn’t think about it, it was a good, normal action that anyone would do to help a sick relative.”
Spain’s National Transplant Organisation, which is run by the health ministry, investigated Abidal’s transplant and said last week that it was carried out “according to the law”.
Armand, who says that Abidal’s father is a brother of his mother, said that he was approached by Abidal’s wife after the liver tumour was discovered in 2011.
He added: “I work for the same company, I work night shifts, I drive a (Peugeot) 406 and to be very transparent, I even had financial worries, which I settled with my wife and banker.
“I’ll answer any questions, I have nothing to hide. I just want to be left alone.”
Con la publicación de esta imagen quiero pedir respeto hacia mi primo Gerard y defender su honorabilidad.— Eric Abidal (@EAbidalOfficial) July 5, 2018
Denuncio públicamente la actitud de algunos medios que siguen poniendo en duda la legalidad de una intervención que me salvó la vida¡Basta ya! pic.twitter.com/d8Nui1bJWQ
Rosell denied the El Confidencial report in an interview published by El Mundo.
He is due to face trial on charges of money laundering in connection with Brazilian TV rights sales and was also investigated for the deal which brought Neymar to Barcelona.
Abidal, 38, resumed his playing career a year after he received the transplant before retiring in 2014 and is now Barcelona’s director of football.AFP