Story By: Alex Cope, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golders
Levante defender Tono has asked for his bail to be set at 100,000 EUR after spending his fifth night in jail on suspicion of holding cash for a money laundering gang.
Full-back Tono, full name Antonio Garcia Aranda, 29, has been in the penitentiary in the Spanish city of Teruel since 8th February after being arrested with six others suspected of belonging to a criminal organisation, extortion, sending death threats, facing documentation, identity theft and money laundering.
The defender’s legal team, led by lawyer Emilio Perez Mora, have now presented an appeal to have him released from preventative prison if he pays a 100,000-EUR (87,553-GBP) bail.
Pictures Credit: Golders/@tonogarcia89
Mora claims that Tono is not suspected of extortion, telling Spanish newspaper El Mundo at the time of his arrest: “There is an investigation against some men and Tono has the misfortune of being a friend of one of them. Tono kept 4,000 EUR for one of them because the man told him that he had gambling problems and if he kept it in his own house he would spend it.”
Tono is being held behind bars as the judge in the case rules that there was a risk the defender would flee if released after his initial arrest.
It is unclear if any of the suspects have been charged and the case is reportedly subject to confidentiality regulations.
The 29-year-old faces between a prison sentence of between one and five years if he is found guilty of extortion and an up to five more years if he is found guilty of sending death threats.
Lawyer Mora told Spanish newspaper El Mundo at the time of the player’s arrest: “Tono has been stupid, he has committed the sin of being naive, but he can’t be put in prison for that. He deserves punishment, a slap on the wrist but not prison.”
Tono’s legal team are reportedly surprised at the decision to keep him in preventative prison, which they claim was unexpected and unprecedented in similar cases as the footballer has no criminal record.
The authorities are expected to respond to the appeal in one to two weeks.
Tono has made 111 appearances for La Liga side Levante, scoring one goal.