Buenos Aires Times | Still in the headlines: Diego Maradona’s ongoing legal disputes
Diego Maradona’s death on November 25, 2020 has prompted a series of legal cases ranging from the determination of responsibility for his alleged killing to the distribution of the star’s multi-million-dollar inheritance. There will even be an auction to settle some of his debts.
Seven charged for death
Argentine prosecutors investigating Maradona’s death have charged seven health professionals with involuntary manslaughter. They are neurosurgeon and general practitioner Leopoldo Luque (aged 40), psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov (36), psychologist Carlos Díaz (29), medical coordinator Nancy Forlini (52), nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni (40) and nurses Ricarlo Almirón (38) and Dahiana Madrid (37).
The suspects have been questioned and are awaiting trial, which has not yet been scheduled. If found guilty, the group could face between eight and 25 years in prison.
Lawyers have asked for the accused to be placed under pre-trial detention and to extend the investigation, but “the prosecutors are not thinking of arresting anyone,” Mario Baudry, a lawyer for Veronica Ojeda, Maradona’s ex-partner and the mother of his youngest son, eight-year-old Diego Fernando, told AFP.
“They plan to bring the case to trial in the next 20 days against the doctors and health personnel. Many people in Argentina are detained for minor offences, if the justice system does this to Maradona, imagine what would happen to an ordinary citizen,” said Baudry.
A report by a board of 20 forensic experts concluded that Maradona was “abandoned to his fate” by the medical team charged with his care. The treatment he received was “inadequate, deficient and reckless” and the patient was in agony for hours before he was found dead in his bed.
“Considering the clinical, clinical-psychiatric picture and the poor general condition, he should have continued his rehabilitation and interdisciplinary treatment at a suitable institution,” the medical board insisted.
The experts say Maradona “was not in full use of his mental faculties, nor in a position to make decisions about his health” when he left a clinic in Olivos, where he had undergone surgery for a head tumour.
At the request of his next of kin, the courts are now involved in battles over the inheritance of the fortune Maradona earned in his four decades as a footballer and celebrity. His wealth is unknown.
The football’s daughters, Dalma (34) and Giannina (32), who he had with his ex-wife Claudia Villafañe, will share the legacy with the other children Maradona acknowledged officially during his lifetime. They include Italian-born Diego Junior (35, a result of Maradona’s relationship with Cristiana Sinagra) and Jana (25, his daughter to Argentine-born girlfriend Valeria Sabalain), as well as Diego Fernando.
Maradona’s lawyer, Matías Morla, said in an interview in 2019 that Diego had at least three other children in Cuba, where he spent time recovering from addiction between 2000 and 2005. Other legal proceedings may be underway too.
The house Maradona gave to his parents in Buenos Aires, two BMW cars and even a letter sent to him by the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro are among a batch of Diego’s assets to be auctioned on December 19 by court order.
The proceeds will be used to pay off debts and expenses incurred by Maradona, without being divided among the heirs, according to an agreement between the parties.
One of the BMWs has the ex-player’s signature engraved on the windscreen and will go on international auction with a base value of US$165,000.
The Maradona brand
Another case is the dispute over the use of the trademark ‘Diego Maradona.’ This pits Dalma and Gianinna against the three sisters of the ex-footballer, represented by Matías Morla, legal representative of the trademark under his firm Sattvica SA.
A court ruled against the daughters’ claim to block commercial exploitation under the name, nicknames and pseudonyms referring to their father.
Dalma and Gianinna also face another case for alleged digital harassment against Morla for his messages on social networks against the lawyer in the middle of the legal dispute.