Portuguese police raid clubs as probe into money laundering of transfer cash intensifies

money laundering

November 11 – Police in Portugal have raided the offices of three top-flight clubs – Benfica, Sporting and Santa Clara – as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation linked to player transfers.

The Portuguese general prosecutor’s office revealed that nearly 30 searches were carried out on Monday by Judicial Police and the Tax Authority under the direction of the Public Ministry.

All three clubs confirmed the searches, with  Benfica underlining their “total willingness to collaborate with the authorities”.

Prosecutors said they were investigating “a range of cases, all linked to professional football”, adding that they were related to “sporting and financial partnerships, the acquisition of sports and economic rights by players from national football clubs, loans granted to one of these clubs and to a sports company by a citizen of Singapore with interests in companies based in the British Virgin Islands and the use of accounts of the same club and another, for the circulation of money.”

Broadcaster TVI reported that Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira is one of main targets of the authorities and that prosecutors are also focussing on the transfer of three Libyan players who signed for Santa Clara.

Last month Vieira was re-elected president of the 37-time Portuguese champions but according to local reports is to be tried in a corruption trial alongside 16 other people, including three judges.

In July it was also reported he and the company that operates the club and the one that owns the stadium were all indicted by the Portuguese justice for tax evasion.

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