Roma players may have a new owner soon [AFP]
Trading of AS Roma shares on the Milan stock exchange have been suspended amid reports that American billionaire George Soros was nearing a deal to purchase the club.

Roma was slated to rise 16 percent before the market opened, forcing the suspension before the opening bell.

Trading is automatically suspended if shares drop or rise beyond a 10 percent limit.

A report in the New York Post on Wednesday said that New York criminal defence lawyer Joseph Tacopina was on the verge of buying Roma with backing from Soros.

Italian news agencies reported that Tacopina arrived in Rome early Thursday for negotiations.

Reports of Soros' interest first appeared last month.

Roma and Compagnia Italpetroli SpA, which holds a 67 percent stake in the club, have repeatedly denied that Soros' representatives have made an offer.

The club issued its latest denial Wednesday, saying no accord with anyone for the team had been reached.


Roma called the news reports that Tacopina and the owners or their representatives were meeting to seal a deal within a week as "completely without any basis.''

Roma issued a statement at the request of the Italian stock-market watchdog.

"Tacopina, who's been backed by international financier George Soros, is jetting to Rome today to put the finishing touches on the deal, which has been in the works for months, according to a source familiar with the deal,'' the Post story said.

A spokesman with Soros Fund Management LLC declined comment.

Trading of Roma shares was also suspended on April 29 amid reports that Soros had withdrawn his offer.