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Éric Abidal: Internal inquiry reportedly opened into claims donated liver bought illegally

El País says Spain's National Transplant Organisation and Barcelona's Clínic Hospital are to investigate the donation of a liver to Abidal.

Abidal en rueda de prensa.
Fernando ZuerasDiario As

Spain's National Transplant Organisation (ONT) and the Clínic Hospital in Barcelona have opened an internal investigation into the donation of a liver to the former FC Barcelona footballer Éric Abidal six years ago, El País has said.

Rosell allegedly revealed liver bought illegally

The report follows the newspaper El Confidencial's publication of taped telephone conversations in which Sandro Rosell, who was Barça president at the time of the transplant, allegedly indicated that the organ was purchased illegally.

Abidal, now the Catalan club's technical secretary, was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011 and the following year received a liver transplant - carried out at the Clínic Hospital - with the Frenchman's cousin, Gerard, named as his donor.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Barcelona categorically denied any irregularities, while the Eric Abidal Foundation, which was set up by the 38-year-old in the wake of his cancer battle, also issued a rebuttal of the claims arising from three conversations reportedly wiretapped by Spanish police.

Barcelona court investigation shelved in May

In May, a Barcelona court shelved an investigation into the donation of the organ, with Catalonia's regional High Court saying on Wednesday that "no crime or alleged perpetrators could be identified".

According to El País's report on Wednesday, "The Barcelona tribunal sent letters rogatory to France in order to determine whether the donor had received payment or not, and to clarify the circumstances of the process.

"The French authorities replied that the French criminal code on the sale of organs was not the same as that in Spain, and sent no information on the matter, which prompted the court to shelve the investigation without taking further action."

Rosell awaiting trial on money-laundering charges

Rosell, 53, is currently in custody awaiting trial on charges of money laundering relating to television rights and sponsorship deals involving the Brazil national football team.