Buenos Aires: An Argentine judge has frozen the assets of Diego Maradona's ex-wife, whom the football legend blames for the disappearance of millions of dollars from his fortune.
Following a request by Maradona, Judge Gladys Carminati yesterday ordered a freeze on the assets of ex-wife Claudia Villafane as a precautionary measure until the case is resolved.
Maradona, 54, says the funds were taken from several of his Argentine and foreign bank accounts. Local media estimate the amount in question is USD 8 million.
Villafane, 53, insists on her innocence.
"I think what they want to do is instill fear, but I'm not afraid because I did nothing wrong, and have no regrets," Villafane told the TV show Intrusos.
Maradona and Villafane, childhood sweethearts, divorced in 2003. Both however agreed that Villafane would handle their joint accounts to benefit daughters Dalma (28) and Gianinna (26), who support their mother in the dispute.
The former Argentina football captain receives funds tied to his activities as honorary sports ambassador of Dubai, and has invested some of the money in the United States.
Villafane acknowledges holding the football jerseys from Maradona's glory days playing in Europe, as well as newspaper clippings dating to 1977, when they started dating.
She says she was the one who collected the memorabilia.
"I feel that it belongs to me and also to Benjamin," she said, in reference to their grandson, the son of Gianinna and Manchester City player Sergio 'Kun' Aguero.
Maradona has two sons and another daughter with three other women.