Portuguese justice announced on Wednesday that it would conduct a series of searches targeting several clubs as part of an investigation into suspicions of tax evasion in the world of football.
With the participation of some 40 tax inspectors and 50 gendarmes, the authorities carried out some twenty searches covering "installations of sports clubs, businesses and law firms", the Portuguese public prosecutor's office said in a statement. In question, "suspicion of agreements concluded between football clubs and agents which aimed to conceal income from the tax authorities". The amounts at stake are estimated at around 15 million euros and relate to professional players whose identity has not been revealed.
These practices are liable to prosecution for "tax fraud, social security fraud and money laundering," said the Portuguese public prosecutor. According to the Portuguese press, the searches concern two clubs in the north of the country, SC Braga and Vitoria Guimarães. These two teams, playing at the top of the first division table (Braga is 4th, Guimarães, 7th), had not reacted at midday.
This new haul is the result of the analysis of the elements seized in March 2020 during the "offside operation", an investigation which relates to professional football cases carried out from 2015 and which allegedly involved actions intended to prevent tax payments due to the Portuguese State.
On Monday, the facilities of FC Porto, the leader of the D1, had also been raided for suspicions of tax evasion involving commission payments totaling more than 20 million euros in the context of player transfers.