Former Valencia president Soler arrested for attempting to kidnap successor in 2014
Former Valencia president Juan Bautista Soler was handed a two-year prison sentence on Tuesday by a Spanish court for attempting to kidnap his successor, Vicente Soriano.
Soler, 63, was one of four people accused and found guilty of trying to abduct Soriano in March 2014 in order to force him to settle a debt regarding the acquisition of club shares. The plan failed as the police were alerted by a police confidant — and Soler and three others were arrested in April 2014.
A statement from the Valencia court read: “The Valencia provincial court has found four people guilty, including a renowned businessman who presided over Valencia CF, for planning to kidnap and rob another businessman that also presided over the club between 2013 and 2014.
“The court considers all of them responsible for a crime of attempted kidnapping and attempted violent robbery. The court has handed the former Valencia CF president a two-year prison sentence, one [year] per each crime.”
Soler, 63, was president and maximum shareholder of Valencia from 2004 until March 2008 before he reached an agreement to sell 70,889 shares to Soriano for €85 million, an amount which was to be repaid in four instalments.
Soriano, who led the club from 2008 until 2009, intended to sell these shares to a Uruguayan investment group, Dalport, but the the Valencia regional government intervened in order to ensure that the La Liga club would not fall into the hands of an organisation with a suspect reputation.
After Soriano’s resignation, the club’s main creditor, Bancaja, appointed an administrative board that would include Manuel Llorente, who returned to the club’s presidency having already served in that role between 1995 and 2005.
In 2009, Llorente began with a capital increase of €92m at the club which reduced the value of the shares that Soriano had acquired and scared off Dalport in the process. Soriano refused to pay Soler.
The Spanish High Court ruled in February 2013 that Soriano and Dalport had to pay Soler €39m for breach of contract.