A former security chief for a top Italian telecoms company claimed Friday that Inter Milan chief Massimo Moratti had given the order to spy on former Italy international Christian Vieri.
A Milan court on Monday ordered Inter Milan, one of the country's biggest football clubs, and Telecom Italia to pay Vieri one million euros in compensation after he successfully sued both for spying on him.
On Friday the story took a new twist, when former Telecom security chief Giuliano Tavaroli said Inter owner and oil tycoon Moratti had personally given the order to phone-tap Vieri, who is now retired.
Claiming Moratti had also kept phone taps on other players, Tavaroli told Radio24 in comments reported by the website of www.gazzetta.it: "Moratti asked me in person, not over the phone, to 'keep checks on Vieri'."
Tavaroli added that a third party, an agency called Cipriani, were then called in to help with the operation.
He then claimed the Pirelli tyre company, one of Inter's major sponsors, had also been spied upon. As one of the club's iconic players, Vieri was therefore seen as a big ambassador for the companies associated with Inter.
Tavaroli added: "There were two episodes, 2001 and 2003. The first concerned Inter checking whether the behaviour of certain players, not just Vieri, was in compliance with their contracts.
"The second one concerned Pirelli because Vieri had to do a testimonial. In this case, we kept tabs on his phone calls."
The dossier on Vieri, 39, only came to light by accident in 2006 as part of an unrelated investigation into Telecom Italia.
After it later transpired that his former club and Telecom had been spying on him, Vieri launched a lawsuit against both companies in 2008.
He demanded a total of 12 million euros from Telecom Italia and 9.25 million from Inter after complaining of "stalking and the wrongful acquisition of phone records".