The intermediary who organized the theft whose crash claimed the life of Argentine footballer and ex-FC Nantes player Emiliano Sala in 2019 was found guilty on Thursday of endangering the device by a court in Wales.

David Henderson, the intermediary who organized the theft which crashed Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala in 2019, was found guilty on Thursday of endangering the device by a court in Wales. The 67-year-old was on trial in Cardiff for recklessness or negligence which could have endangered the device in which the 28-year-old was traveling to join the club Cardiff City, where he had just been transferred from FC Nantes for 17 million euros.

After two weeks of hearings and more than seven hours of deliberation, the popular jury found David Henderson guilty. His sentence must be pronounced on November 12, he is for the moment kept in provisional release. The intermediary faces five years in prison, but also two years in detention for prosecution for transporting a passenger without valid authorization, a charge to which he pleaded guilty. The jury therefore did not have to rule on this point.

The small private plane aboard which the Argentinian player and the pilot David Ibbotson were aboard crashed in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. The FC Nantes striker was joining the Cardiff City club, where he had just been transferred for 17 million euros. Significant searches were then carried out to find the plane. The player’s body was finally found in the carcass of the aircraft, more than two weeks after the accident, at a depth of 67 meters. The body of the pilot, 59, has not been found.

During the trial, the prosecution explained that the defendant was initially supposed to fly the aircraft but, while on vacation in Paris with his wife, he had entrusted the transport to David Ibbotson. The latter did not have a commercial pilot license, his qualification for this type of aircraft had expired and he was not competent to fly at night. Producing text messages at the hearing, prosecutor Martin Goudie accused the intermediary of having acted “in his financial interest” and of knowing full well that the pilot was not qualified.

He ignored certain (security) requirements when it suited him and his business interests. – The prosecutor, Martin Goudie

David Henderson’s defense, however, had refuted any “recklessness”, asserting that the breaches of regulations alleged against his client were “purely a matter of paperwork” and that they had not really put the flight in danger. .

In its final report published in March 2020, the British Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau estimated that the pilot lost control of the aircraft during a maneuver performed at too high a speed, “probably” intended to avoid bad weather. Investigators also believe that the two men were “probably” intoxicated with carbon monoxide.

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