Breaking | Massive Tax Fraud Scheme Swipes Portugal’s ‘Big Three’

As of Wednesday, May 17th, CNN Portugal reports that the Portuguese Tax Authority has unveiled that they are conducting approximately 80 searches today investigating a tax fraud scheme involving football transfers and players from FC Porto, Benfica and Sporting.

These events were set into motion back in 2015, when independent leaker Rui Pinto set out to unwrap the dark side of Portuguese football operations. In 2020, the Portuguese government took action on the evidence laid out by Pinto’s leaks, and now in 2023, the claims of fraud seem to have planted strong enough roots to warrant a mass searching of football clubs, player and executive homes, and club finances.

Leaker Rui Pinto reflects on today’s raids, saying that his Football Leaks project in 2015 unveiled corruption deep in Portuguese football, and 8 years later after government involvement, his evidence is finally pursuing justice.

As of this moment, CNN Portugal reports that each of the ‘big three’ clubs have their own set of crimes they are being investigated for, all pertaining to potential misdemeanors in transfer business.

Benfica are being investigated for the transfers of attacking player Gonçalo Guedes, goalkeeper Vlachodimos, and midfielder Chiquinho. Reports of tax fraud, Social Security fraud and money launder of contracts are all the crimes that seem to be on the table for the Encarnados.

Their Lisbon rivals, Sporting, are not exempt from the scrutiny either. CNN Portugal also report that Sporting’s transfer business from 2015 to 2017, under the supervision of disgraced president Bruno de Carvalho, is the subject of intense investigation. The transfers in question are namely that of Bas Dost, Naldo, André Pinto, Rúben Semedo, Battaglia, Beto Pimparel, and Schelotto.

Lastly, FC Porto are under investigation for the transfers of Licá and Carlos Eduardo from the Portuguese costal club, Estoril Praia. The home of Alexandre Pinto da Costa, football agent and son of FC Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, was also searched this morning as part of the Portuguese governments footballing exodus.

As it stands, the searches are not over. All three clubs are said to be cooperating, with FC Porto and Benfica having already made a public statement within the last two hours. More news to follow within the coming hours at Get Football Portugal.

Andrew Abrantes | Get Football

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