Harry Maguire emerged from a Greek court yesterday wearing a face mask – and to a warning he could be jailed for three years.
But the England ace – preparing to fly home after two nights in custody – also learned he could beat jail by paying £90,000 (Sh12 million)… less than half a week’s pay.
Maguire, 27, appeared in court in Syros over a brawl on neighbouring island Mykonos.
The Manchester United captain and two other Brits – aged 28 and 29 – pleaded not guilty to a string of charges as they were grilled by a local prosecutor for almost two hours.
If he was convicted, Maguire could pay a daily sum to avoid being sent to jail under a scheme to ease overcrowding in Greek jails.
Over three years that could be £90,000 – and Maguire earns £190,000 a week.
There were unconfirmed reports his sister Daisy, 20, was attacked with a sharp object in the melee late on Thursday night.
And it was alleged fans of rival clubs goaded Maguire with jibes about the 1958 Munich air disaster which killed 23 United players, staff and air crew.
The charges against Maguire were unclear, but police say a file includes accusations of “violence against officials, disobedience, bodily harm, insult and attempted bribery of an official”.
There were some reports the bribery case had been withdrawn – though a police source denied this.
It is understood Maguire does not need to appear in person at the next hearing, leaving him free to fly home by private jet.
Greek lawyer Panagiotis Petropoulos, vice president of the Piraeus Bar Association, told the Sunday Mirror: “The maximum theoretical sentencing could be up to seven-and-a-half years. It is understood the total would more likely be three years because a court would sentence concurrently.
“However, in the Greek penal system any sentence up to three years can be bought on a per day basis, meaning Mr Maguire can pay a set fee to avoid any jail time.”
That could mean an effective fine of €100 a day – though it can be as low as €5. The figure is at the discretion of the judge.
Meanwhile, a source said the incident happened after Maguire’s sister was stabbed. The source added: “Harry has told police he was just trying to protect his sister.
“He felt like he was being targeted by this other group, who were also goading him with insults, including about the Munich air disaster.
“He’s really struggling psychologically right now. He’s a strong character, but he never expected his holiday to turn out this way.”
Maguire left the courthouse shortly after 1pm following a hearing behind closed doors.
Asked three times by the Sunday Mirror if he apologised for his alleged wrongdoing, Maguire declined to answer.
Asked if he was a free man, his lawyer said: “Right now, yes.”
Maguire was taken away in a black people carrier with his two co-defendants, before being driven a short distance to a luxury hotel.
The £85million defender was originally being represented by two top lawyers he had chosen.
But they were yesterday replaced by two new high-flying legal eagles hired by Manchester United. They flew in from Athens – with Maguire’s father Alan – on Friday night.
Maguire had been arrested shortly after 12.30am on Friday.
Police said he and a group of pals became “very abusive and aggressive” towards officers who arrived to break up a late-night fight.
Maguire, a dad of two, was earlier seen with teammates Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Brandon Williams, Love Island star Chris Hughes, snooker star Judd Trump and Kate Moss’s model sister Lottie. There is no indication they were involved in the brawl, which broke out after bars shut at midnight on Thursday.
It is believed the partying started at exclusive SantAnna beach bar club, where VIP tables cost £1,000 and beds £500 for the afternoon.
The fight erupted after the party moved on to the Bonbonniere bar – where Maguire’s sister Daisy posted a video clip of him on social media.
One shopkeeper said: “There was a lot of shouting so I went outside to see what was happening. There were a group of Englishmen fighting but it is not an unusual thing to see in Mykonos at this time of year. It was a big group, 10 or more. Police were there very quickly.” The manager at the Bonbonniere refused to comment.
A Greek police source said officers were not aware Daisy had been stabbed.
Maguire has been on holiday on Mykonos with girlfriend Fern Hawkins, 26, brother Joe and other pals since United were knocked out of the Europa League last weekend.
Video online showed him chatting with fans in Mykonos Town shortly before the trouble began. Football fans were singing his name in the street and posing for selfies with him.
Fern had earlier posted a picture on social media with the caption “holidays with you” and a love heart.
A Manchester United spokesman said last night: “Following the appearance in court today we note the adjournment of the case to allow the legal team to consider the case file.
“Harry has pleaded not guilty. It would be inappropriate for the player or club to comment further while the legal process takes its course.”