Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 15th 2014 Contents A58
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 15, 2014
LISBON, Portugal---Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari
is under criminal investigation in Portugal for sus-
pected tax fraud and money laundering, according
to US court documents obtained yesterday by The
Associated Press. Portuguese tax authorities suspect
€7.4 million (US$10.1 million) that was transferred
from Portugal to a bank in Miami between 2003
and 2008, when Scolari was coach of Portugal s
national team, were local income that the Brazilian
did not declare.
A US district judge last week granted Portugal s
request for a series of Miami bank accounts to be
examined, Florida court documents show. An assis-
tant US attorney was placed in charge of collecting
the evidence. Tax fraud and money laundering togeth-
er carry a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison
in Portugal, and the investigation is an unwelcome
distraction for the Brazil coach as his country prepares
to host the World Cup.
The 65-year-old Scolari denied any wrongdoing
after the court documents were first reported Monday
by OffshoreAlert, a Florida-based site specialising
in fraud investigations. "I have correctly filed all my
tax returns. In all the countries where I ve worked,
I ve always declared my income," Scolari said in a
statement sent to the AP in Sao Paulo late Tuesday.
"If anything is wrong, it s not my fault. I hope justice
gets to the bottom of the facts."
Officials at the Portuguese Football Federation,
which employed Scolari as national team coach, did
not immediately reply to a request for comment. Fifa
had no comment on the investigation. Fifa s code of
ethics can be applied to conduct "that damages the
integrity and reputation of football and in particular
to illegal, immoral and unethical behaviour."
Sanctions for breaching the code range from a
warning to a ban from any football-related activity.
Portuguese investigators want to know who were
the "real beneficiaries" of numerous payments made
into the Miami accounts over the six-year period.
The money went to accounts held by Netherlands-
based Flamboyant Sports CV, London-based
Chaterella Investors Ltd and Taliston Financial Corp,
a British Virgin Islands company, according to pros-
ecutors. Those companies owned, at various times,
non-exclusive rights to the use of Scolari s name,
image and voice, they say. Transfers were also made
to Miami accounts in the name of Scolari himself
and of his son Leonardo.
The investigators suspect Scolari used those com-
panies and bank accounts to hide income from the
Portuguese tax authorities.
Portuguese investigators sent their initial request
for assistance to the US Justice Department in Wash-
ington in late 2012. It was not clear why the request
was submitted to a judge only last week. The judge
endorsed the request last Thursday.
The Portuguese attorney general s office acknowl-
edged in an e-mail to the AP that the Department
for Criminal Investigation and Prosecution has opened
an inquiry into Scolari and said investigators have
also asked Britain, the Netherlands and Brazil for
help. No further details were available.
In Portugal, ongoing investigations are subject to
a judicial secrecy law which forbids the release of
details of the case.
Scolari, who is Brazilian, led his country s national
team to the World Cup title in 2002. He will again
coach the Brazilian team at this year s World Cup.
He has also coached in Japan and the Middle East.
He was coach of Premier League club Chelsea
Scolari was Portugal s most successful national
team coach. He guided the Portuguese to the final
of the 2004 European Championship and to the
semifinals of the 2006 World Cup. Along the way,
he gave Cristiano Ronaldo his national team debut
and made him captain.
To help pay the salary of a World Cup-winning
coach---and to prevent him from being poached by
other clubs and countries which offered him con-
tracts, including England---the Portuguese federation
signed multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals, includ-
ing with Nike and two Portuguese banks.
Scolari, whose salary in Portugal was never
made public, appeared in advertising cam-
Portugal s government has set up special
investigative teams and increased penalties
in an effort to crack down on tax evasion.
The country needed a €78 billion (US$107
billion) bailout in 2011 after high debts
pushed it to the brink of bankruptcy.
In neighbouring Spain, where authorities
have also targeted tax evaders, officials have
brought tax fraud charges against Lionel
Messi and his club, Barcelona. (AP)
Portugal targets Scolari for fraud, laundering
Brazil's soccer coach
Luiz Felipe Scolari.
has set up special
penalties in an effort
to crack down on tax
evasion. The country
needed a 78 billion
euro ($107 billion)
bailout in 2011 after
high debts pushed it to
the brink of
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