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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 21 January, 2019

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina being investigated over mafia links

The 35-year-old Spaniard is to face an Italian Football Federation disciplinary hearing.

PEPE REINA HAS been summoned to an Italian Football Federation (FIGC) hearing over his alleged association with people who have links to the mafia.

According to a statement released by the FIGC, Reina is said to have maintained a relationship of “friendship and acquaintance”, involving the exchange of favours, with the owners of a Naples-based betting agency — Gabriele Esposito, Francesco Esposito and Giuseppe Esposito.

The accusations against Reina in the FIGC statement read: ”To have entertained and continued to entertain relationships of acquaintance and friendship with Esposito Gabriele, prejudiced, Esposito Francesco and Esposito Giuseppe — factual owners of the EUROBET betting agency in Naples at Piazza Mercato, realised in holidays, exchange of courtesies (availability of use of large cars owned by Esposito Gabriele and access to the restricted area of the San Paolo stadium during official competitions).”

The Esposito brothers have been arrested as part of a wider investigation by authorities in Naples. All three are accused of having ties to the Contini and Sarno clans within the Camorra mafia organisation, with two of the suspects’ wives also reported by Repubblica to be of interest to the anti-mafia department.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Reina, meanwhile, is set to leave Napoli upon the expiry of his contract this summer and is expected to join AC Milan ahead of the 2018-19 campaign.

Ex-Napoli and Sassuolo player Paolo Cannavaro has also been summoned to face the FIGC hearing.

Representatives of the two players have been contacted but are yet to comment on the announcement.

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