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Maradona’s medical team face manslaughter probe

Buenos Aires (AFP) – Seven people have been placed under formal investigation for manslaughter in Argentina over the death last year of footballing legend Diego Maradona, AFP has learned from a judicial source.

The accused — who include Maradona’s neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz — potentially face between eight and 25 years in prison.

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, agonizing 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 AFP: “After so many injustices, the case has come full circle.”

The accused are prohibited from leaving the country and will be questioned by investigating judges 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.

The prosecutors obtained a series of messages and audio that show that the medical team were aware that the former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star 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 Matias Morla, his former lawyer.

Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.

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