Rangers hero Fernando Ricksen’s wife fears missing his final moments as she begs his ex to pay £370k owed

FERNANDO Ricksen’s wife fears missing his final days as they are skint — and is begging his ex to pay the £370,000 she owes him.

Veronika, 33, revealed she can’t afford constant trips from Spain to see the MND-stricken Rangers idol, 42, in an Airdrie hospice.

Stricken Fernando Ricksen’s wife is begging his ex to pay him the money she owes
Michael Schofield – The Sun Glasgow
Graciela L’Ami is allegedly using the EBT scheme to avoid paying her ex £370,000
News Group Newspapers Ltd

The desperate mum last night urged Graciela L’Ami, 45, to settle the bitter cash battle and said: “I need to be able to fly any day.”

L’Ami is allegedly using the controversial EBT scheme as a legal argument to avoid coughing up — even though HMRC has never chased Ricksen, 42, for unpaid money.

She’s refusing to pay because of the tax

Veronika Ricksen

But the Ibrox legend’s current spouse Veronika, 33, urged her to hand over at least some of the cash so she can fly to his side from her home in Spain if his motor neurone disease suddenly deteriorates.

The Russian ex-model — mum to Ricksen’s daughter Isabella, seven — said: “She’s refusing to pay because of the tax. It’s very upsetting.

“We’re still fighting for the money because we have completely nothing.

“I would just say to Graciela ‘let him live a normal life for the rest of the time he has’.

“She doesn’t know what it feels like to see someone you love dying in front of your eyes. It’s awful.”


Ricksen and Graciela have been at war over their finances since he took her to court in 2009, a year after they split.

He accused the beautician of using his cash to bankroll a lavish lifestyle and sued her for £650,000 in 2014.

Dutch judges ordered her to pay him £370,000 in 2016 — but he insists he has never seen a penny.


Ricksen’s former teammates face huge bills after being paid through Employee Benefit Trusts by ‘oldco’ Rangers as a way of dodging tax.

More than 80 players, managers and directors received £48million between 2001 and 2010.

But Ricksen’s lawyer Ivo Sigmond warned Graciela’s argument over EBTs the ex-Gers ace is said to have received will fail as the taxman never chased him.


He said: “She’s arguing she might face an EBT claim from the Scottish authorities and she’s not going to pay because of that.

“But Fernando has no tax claim up to now. It’s nonsense because she wouldn’t be liable for that tax.

“In my opinion she has no legal arguments not to pay. She’s just stalling so she doesn’t have to pay.”

Veronika claims the stress of the cash fight is affecting Ricksen’s health as he continues to battle terminal motor neurone disease.


She said: “The case is too much for him. He can’t handle it. The stress is making him more ill.

“I texted him the other day and he said ‘I can’t deal with this.’ He wants to cry. It’s very emotional for him thinking about his family.

“He worries about what will happen to me and Isabella once he has gone. He wants to know that we will be fine.

“He wants the case resolved while he’s still here.”

Veronika spoke days after Ricksen made an emotional final public appearance in front of 200 fans at an event in Glasgow that raised £10,000 for the battle against MND.

Visa trips to Russia hit family finances

VERONIKA says she’s also being hammered financially by the cost of flights to her Russia homeland twice a year to renew her visa.

She forks out £1,500 on return trips for herself and Isabella and has also paid around £1,000 for two sets of immigration papers.

The mum says she is struggling to meet the cost — and fears a delay could keep her from her hubby at his greatest time of need.

She said: “I need to fly back in a few days

“I have to go to the British Embassy to show my documents and marriage certificate.

“I also need to ask the hospice for fresh papers to show my husband needs me there.

“Every half year I have to go and get it refreshed. It costs 800 euros per flight and 500 euros for a visa.

“I stay with my mum for a few days. It’s just a nightmare — yet more money to pay.”

He has now stepped out of the limelight to focus on battling the muscle-wasting disease at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie.

Former restaurant host Veronika said she is penniless in Spain as she can’t speak the language and struggles to get work.

But she doesn’t want to leave the country as Isabella is settled at school and would struggle to continues her studies if they were to move to her native Russia.


Veronika said: “Fernando doesn’t have any money. If he did we wouldn’t live like this. He wouldn’t fight for this money, it’s because it’s desperate.

“It’s expensive paying for electricity, water, school, petrol and food when you have nothing coming in.

“If you don’t pay the money here for one month they just cut it. It happened six months ago — they cut electricity and water so we had to stay with friends.

“I’ve been crying about this. I’m obviously most worried about being without Fernando, but this is really bad too.”


Veronika said she relies mainly on handouts from her mum Irina, 54, and money raised at Ricksen’s past charity events.

She said: “I feel terrible having to borrow money from my mum.

“She doesn’t have lots of money but I have to fly to see Fernando every month. I pay for the flights with money I borrow from her.

“I could always go back to live with my mum but it’s hard when you’re 33 and Isabella likes Spain.

“I’m worried we might not be able to afford food. I’m also worried I might not be able to fly to see Fernando anymore.”

Midfielder Ricksen played 182 times for Rangers from 2000 to 2006 and helped the club win seven trophies.

In an interview last month he said he feared “time is ticking away” six years after his 2013 MND diagnosis.

We told how he hopes to extend his life by wearing an oxygen mask ten hours a day.

Graciela was unavailable for comment.

Veronika lives in Spain with their daughter, 7, but is worried she’ll miss her husband’s final days as she struggles to afford flights
Les Gallagher – The Sun Glasgow
Ricksen played 182 times for Rangers from 2000 to 2006, winning seven trophies
News Group Newspapers Ltd


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