Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is suspected of cheating to pass his Italian language test with the help of his teachers, the Perugia prosecutor's department said on Tuesday.
Perugia's University for Foreigners was raided by police on Tuesday but denies any wrongdoing, according to Italian media reports
The Italian exam was a first step required in order to receive italian citizenship ahead of a possible transfer to Juventus, a move which has seen been abandoned.
Suarez flew to the city of Perugia by private jet on Thursday to take the exam at the city's .
“The investigation showed that the subjects discussed during the exam were agreed beforehand with the candidate and that the grade was awarded to him
even before the test,” the prosecutor's department said in a statement.
Local prosecutor Raffaele Cantone, a former head of Italy's National Anti-Corruption Authority, had been carrying out an investigation since February into University for Foreigners officials over various irregularities.
Suspicions over Suarez were aroused by an overheard conversation.
“But what do you think, that we're going to fail him? Today I have the last lesson (with Suarez) and I have to prepare it because he barely speaks a word”
of Italian, Stefania Spina, one of the people targeted by the investigation, is claimed to have said according to prosecution documents cited by Italian
Asked by a colleague what level Suarez “should pass” in Italian, Spina reportedly replied: “He should not, he must, he will pass, because with a
salary of 10 million (euros) per season, you can't make him fail” his exam, “even if he doesn't know how to conjugate verbs and speak in the infinitive.”
Luis Suarez. File photo: AFP
Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said last week a proposed deal for Suarez was unlikely to go ahead because of delays in the Uruguayan's bid to get an Italian passport.
The Italian champions cannot recruit Suarez otherwise because they have already reached their quota for non-EU players.
Suarez is married to an Italian citizen and therefore eligible to apply.
Though he had to take the B1 language exam like everyone else, there have been complaints that not only were his exam results reportedly expediated, but so was the rest of the citizenship application process, according to Italian media reports.
It usually takes between one and three months for those taking the B1 language exam to get their results back, though Suarez reportedly obtained his within hours.
And many reports suggest the footballer could have his citizenship approved within just 15 days.
Most people applying for Italian citizenship through marriage have to wait two to four years for their application to be processed – a timeframe lengthened by a law change
by former interior minister Matteo Salvini in 2018, as part of a raft of measures making the process more difficult.
Suarez flew to the city of Perugia by private jet on Thursday to take an Italian language exam at the city's University for Foreigners, as he sought to gain Italian citizenship.