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ARGENTINA | 20-05-2021 13:00

Maradona's medical team face manslaughter investigation over his death

Seven people have been placed under formal investigation for Maradona's death, including the football star's neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz.

Seven people have been placed under formal investigation for manslaughter following the November death of football legend Diego Maradona, according to a judicial source.

The accused — who include Maradona's neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Díaz — potentially face eight to 25 years in prison if found guilty.

The new focus of the investigation is based on findings by a board of experts into Maradona's death from a heart attack last year at the age of 60, a source from the San Isidro Attorney General's Office, which is leading the investigation, said Wednesday.

That report concluded that the footballing icon received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a "prolonged, agonising period" before his death, which came just weeks after he underwent brain surgery on a blood clot.

A separate source with knowledge of the case told the AFP news agency that "after so many injustices, the case has come full circle." 

The accused are prohibited from leaving the country and will be questioned by investigators between May 31 and June 14. The judges will then decide whether charges should be brought.

The legal proceedings were prompted by a complaint filed by two of Maradona's five daughters against Luque, who they blamed for their father's deteriorating condition after the brain surgery.

Prosecutors believe Maradona's death was the result of malpractice or negligent actions by his doctors, which worsened his health condition and resulted in his death. They argue that the team’s actions were “contrary to the art of healthcare” and “failed to perform the specific acts that each one had.

Investigators obtained a series of messages and WhatsApp audio recordings that show that the medical team were aware that the former Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli legend was using alcohol, psychiatric medication and marijuana in the final months of his life.

Among the conclusions of the report, the medical board said that "the signs of life risk" shown by Maradona were ignored, and that his care in his final weeks was "plagued by deficiencies and irregularities."

The recriminations and accusations over Maradona's death are taking place alongside another case, over his disputed inheritance, involving his five children, his brothers and Matías Morla, his former lawyer.

Maradona has been an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the Albiceleste to their second World Cup triumph in 1986.

– TIMES/AFP

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