December 21 – French authorities have opened a preliminary inquiry into tax fraud and money laundering in the wake of the ‘Football Leaks’ revelations which claimed a raft of players and coaches were using tax havens to stash away undeclared funds.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel di Maria and Javier Pastore and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba are among the players reportedly involved. Paul Pogba has been accused of funneling away money in the Channel Islands, as instructed by his agent Mino Raiola.
Earlier this month, a group of 12 European news outlets began publishing the results of months of investigations into millions of financial documents, obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel and dubbed “Football Leaks”, the sport’s version of Wikileaks.
The documents accuse stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho of using tax havens to handle tens of millions of euros in earnings, claims they fiercely deny.
“Following the publication of a series of press articles regarding ‘Football Leaks’, the national financial prosecutor’s office decided to open a preliminary investigation into the charge of laundering of aggravated tax fraud, facts likely to relate to French tax residents,” read a statement.
Last week, Spain’s tax office has ordered daily newspaper El Mundo to hand over documents related to its probe into the alleged massive football fraud.
The newspaper said the anti-fraud office was seeking information on 37 people and organisations, including Ronaldo, his agent Jorge Mendes and his management company Gestifute which has also dismissed the claims as totally inaccurate.
In 2017 the European Commission will propose new anti tax-evasion legislation following the revelations by Football Leaks.
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