103686322 gettyimages 999641106 - Croatian court rejects perjury charge against Luka Modric
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Croatian court rejects perjury charge against Luka Modric

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Croatia’s Luka Modric, seen here during July’s World Cup Final against France

A Croatian court has rejected a charge of perjury against Luka Modric, recently named as the best football player in the world.

Croatian prosecutors have accused him of giving false testimony at the trial of an ex-executive of his former club Dinamo Zagreb.

It related to Mr Modric’s transfer to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

A Zagreb criminal court rejected the accusation against Mr Modric, although its ruling can be appealed.

The trial involved Dinamo chief executive Zdravko Mamic and three officials, all sentenced to prison over embezzled funds from player transfers – though Mamic fled the country to Bosnia.

It is thought the embezzlement cost Dinamo Zagreb more than €15m (£13.1m; $16.7m), and the state €1.5m.

That verdict is being appealed.

Croatian media report that the Zagreb municipal criminal court said the perjury charge against Mr Modric was “premature” because the verdict in the corruption trial itself was not yet final.

The corruption charge centres around precisely when he signed an annex to his contract which established the terms for future transfer fees.

Prosecutors claimed Mr Modric falsely said he had signed it in July 2004, but had actually signed it in 2008 when he had already left the club. They alleged the player changed his testimony in favour of Mamic.

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Luka Modric was named the world’s best male player this year at the Fifa awards

The reprieve comes weeks after Mr Modric was voted as the best men’s player of the year at the Fifa awards, in recognition of his performance at both club level and at the World Cup.

Croatia came second in the global summer tournament, losing to France in the final.

Mr Modric was also awarded the golden ball – a World Cup award for the best player of the tournament.

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