San Isidro (Argentina) (AFP) – The coordinator in charge of the nurses that treated Diego Maradona at his home denied any involvement in the football icon’s death when interviewed by Argentine prosecutors on Friday.
Mariano Perroni, 40, is the third of seven people under investigation for manslaughter to testify in the case that has gripped the country.
The 1986 World Cup-winning captain died of a heart attack last November at the age of 60, just weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.
“Perroni was never in the house, he doesn’t know Maradona, he was never in contact with him,” the coordinator’s lawyer Miguel Angel Pierri told reporters outside the public prosecutor’s office in San Isidro, on the outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.
Prosecutors opened an investigation after a board of experts looking into Maradona’s death found he had received inadequate care and was abandoned to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period”.
“He was a sort of personnel coordinator, his job was to assemble the team of nurses to ensure they entered (the house) and completed their shifts,” said Pierri of Perroni’s role.
“The treating doctors gave the medical directives.”
Perroni’s interview comes two days after a lawyer for one of the nurses that attended to Maradona told reporters that doctors “killed Diego” through their negligence.
Nurses Dahiana Gisela Madrid, 36, and Ricardo Almiron, 37 — two of the last people to see Maradona alive — said this week they were following the orders of his treating doctors.
They both admit to having failed to perform routine checks on Maradona just before he died.
– ‘Disinterested and indifferent’ –
Prosecutors say Perroni had “full knowledge of what was done and what was not done, particularly in terms of the management of nurses for the patient.”
They also accuse him of having demonstrated “disinterested and indifferent behavior given the urgent situation.”
Perroni’s defense is that his role was merely administrative and involved collecting the nurses’ reports and worksheets filled out when they changed shifts.
He claims to have passed on these documents to Nancy Forlini, 52, Maradona’s home medical coordinator who is also under investigation and will be interviewed on Monday.
Both Almiron and Madrid told prosecutors earlier this week that the house rented for Maradona did not contain the equipment necessary to treat a patient suffering from heart disease.
Both said they had not been told he suffered from heart disease and had been instructed not to disturb him while he rested.
Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.
Psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, 35, psychologist Carlos Diaz, 29, and neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque are to be questioned next week.
Two of Maradona’s children blame Luque for their father’s deteriorating condition after the brain operation.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor said last month that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities” and the medical team had left his survival “to fate”.
If found guilty, the seven, who are barred from leaving the country, could face between eight and 25 years in prison.
Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.