La Liga footballer Tono Garcia says he has “lived a nightmare” after being held in detention for three weeks on suspicion of extortion and threats.
Levante defender Garcia was arrested on 8th February on suspicion of belonging to a criminal organisation, extortion, making death threats, crimes against personal privacy, falsifying documentation, identity theft and money laundering.
He was released on 1st March and has now released a statement after visiting the club’s Bunol Sports City training ground to undergo tests before returning to training.
In a video statement, Garcia said: “The last few days I have lived a nightmare. I went from absolute happiness with renewing my contract with Levante to seeing myself in jail without understanding absolutely anything. My liberty was taken from me because of a suspicion.
“I could have made a mistake. I am a trusting person and I don’t think badly of people, maybe I should have protected myself more. But going from that to suspecting I belong to a criminal organisation and that I dedicate myself to money laundering, they are worlds apart. It’s absolutely false and I will show it.”
The 29-year-old added: “Firstly I want to thank the club, the president of the board, my teammates and all the Levante fans for trusting and supporting me. Secondly, I want to tell them to trust me, everything will be cleared up and I am innocent. Thank you.”
Garcia will have to appear in court on the 1st and 15th of each month after he was released without bail by the Court of Teruel after they found he has “strong personal, family, social and working roots in the province of Valencia and there is no evidence that he has been a hindrance to the court.”
Levante are based in the Spanish city of Valencia and Garcia has made 111 appearances for the La Liga side, scoring one goal.
Six other suspects were arrested along with Garcia and the investigation is ongoing. It is unclear if the other suspects have been released.
The defender’s lawyer Emilio Perez Mora previously told Spanish newspaper El Mundo at the time of his arrest: “There is an investigation against some men and Tono has the misfortune of being a friend of one of them. Tono kept 4,000 EUR for one of them because the man told him that he had gambling problems and if he kept it in his own house he would spend it.”