Prosecutors ask to drop case against AC Milan's Chinese former owner

FILE PHOTO: Yonghong Li shows a AC Milan jersey during a news conference in Milan, Italy, April 14, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Milan prosecutors have asked for a case against former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong over alleged false accounting to be dropped after a lengthy investigation, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Li bought the Serie A club in 2017 from late former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with the help of U.S. hedge fund Elliott, which threw the Chinese businessman a 300 million euro financing lifeline to complete the 740 million euro deal.

The U.S. fund assumed control of the club only a year later after Li failed to make a repayment.

The investigation, which started in 2018, revolved around information AC Milan issued regarding the state of Li's finances, sources said at the time.

The inquiry, which involved activity overseas, did not yield sufficient evidence to proceed, the source said, confirming an earlier report by Italian news agency ANSA.

A judge will now have to decide whether to ratify the dismissal.

Reuters could not reach Li for comment.

Elliott sold the seven-time European champions AC Milan to U.S. investment firm RedBird Capital Partners in 2022, in a deal valuing the club at 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

($1 = 0.9304 euros)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Keith Weir)

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