Watford chairman Riva resigns
LONDON (Reuters) - Raffaele Riva resigned on Wednesday as chairman of Watford, the Premier League club being investigated over allegations of falsified financial information before the current owner completed his takeover.
Riva said in a statement on the Italian-owned club's website (www.watfordfc.com) that he had stepped down to focus on his other business interests.
"For the past four years I have acted with honesty and in good faith in all my dealings on behalf of the club, and the club has developed and grown a great deal in this period," he said.
"I fully refute, and will protect vigorously my integrity against, any recent speculation," added Riva.
The Football League announced last month an inquiry into claims that a banking letter, allegedly forged to appear to be written by HSBC, was submitted when Italian businessman Gino Pozzo took full control of the club from his father Giampaolo in 2014.
The letter was reportedly submitted to the Football League, which oversees clubs outside the Premier League, when Watford were a second-tier club in the Championship.
Watford said in a separate statement signed by Gino Pozzo that a preliminary investigation by a legal firm had been completed and the findings would be sent to the League.
"We can assure every supporter the club acted with honesty, integrity and in good faith at every step and is not guilty of any wrongdoing and we are sure this will ultimately be recognised," it said.
Watford added that Scott Duxbury had replaced Riva with immediate effect.
Giampaolo Pozzo bought Watford in June 2012 from previous owner Laurence Bassini.
The Pozzo family have extensive interests in football and also own the Italian club Udinese. They sold the Spanish club Granada to Chinese firm Link International Sports last June.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)