Spanish prosecutors have requested a four-year prison term for Toronto FC midfielder Ager Aketxe after an alleged assault of an off-duty police officer in 2015.
Aketxe and another individual are accused of attacking the officer after he filmed an altercation in order to collect evidence during a festival in the Romo district of Getxo on Aug. 9, 2015, as first reported by El Correo, a top daily newspaper in Bilbao, Spain.
The case was first investigated late in 2015 and into 2016 — when Athletic Club, Aketxe’s last team, supported the player and maintained his innocence, according to Marca — before being delayed for almost two years.
“Toronto FC is aware of the report and the incident which occurred in 2015,” Toronto FC told Pro Soccer USA in a written statement. “Based on the information we received during our initial due diligence, and updates received since, we are in support of the player’s position on this issue.”
In its letter requesting a hearing, the prosecution states it is “probable” an agreement can be reached where the accused receive only a minor penalty — for example, greater financial compensation — in exchange for acknowledging the victim’s account as fact.
Otherwise, the public prosecutor is requesting the two main defendants be fined €4,800 (about $5,692) in addition to the prison sentence. A private prosecutor has asked for €15,000 ($17,787).
According to the report, Aketxe and another man are accused of approaching the victim and telling him to delete the video. When he refused and identified himself as police, they allegedly punched and kicked him and he fell into the Gobelas river.
A third member of the group, who has been charged with a minor offense, reportedly insulted the officer before they fled as more police arrived at the scene.
Aketxe joined Toronto on a free transfer from Athletic in February. The latest MLS Players Association release of MLS salaries listed the 24-year-old as earning $1.295 million, making him TFC’s fifth highest-paid player.
Aketxe has made nine appearances for Toronto in the league this season and three in the Concacaf Champions League.