The Chinese consortium that agreed to buy AC Milan in a multimillion dollar deal this summer has been hit with new forgery claims, local media said Friday.
In August, Silvio Berlusconi agreed to sell more than 99 percent of AC Milan to a little-known Chinese consortium named Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing.
The deal valued the club at 740 million euros (then $825.4 million) including debt.
But the Chinese group provided a forged bank statement to prove its financing abilities, China's business magazine Caixin reported.
The consortium provided a statement issued by the Bank of Dongguan, a regional commercial lender based in South China's Guangdong Province, saying it would provide assistance to finance the deal.
But Bank of Dongguan denied they ever provided such a document to the Chinese group, Caixin cited the lender as saying.
The Chinese consortium includes businessman Li Yonghong, the Haixia Capital group, and other private and public Chinese companies.
Sino-Europe Sports Investment Management Changxing Co has already paid 100 million euros to Fininvest, the holding company of AC Milan owner and president Berlusconi, who is expected to sign off on the 740 million euro deal by the end of the year.
The news comes just two days after Bloomberg News alleged that other false documents were used in the initial negotiations of the deal.
The Bloomberg report claimed that Sino-Europe Sports provided documents on "what appears to be Bank of Jiangsu Co stationery, purporting to show transaction details of a consortium member's corporate account."
It added that "after reviewing the matter, Bank of Jiangsu found it hadn't issued any such document detailing the account's transactions."
Bloomberg's claims, reported widely in the Italian media, have cast a shadow over a deal that could see Milan, one of the world's legendary soccer clubs, following in the footsteps of city rivals Inter Milan in being sold to Chinese investors.
Inter, Italy's last Champions League winners in 2010, are now owned by Nanjing-based commerce group Suning, who bought a majority stake in the club several months ago from Indonesian Erick Thohir.
AC Milan already pulled out of one deal with Chinese investors last year, and recently the new bid was hit by doubts.