Brazil World Cup soccer coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is being investigated in Portugal for allegedly failing to declare 7.4 million euros ($10.2 million) in image-rights income when he managed that country’s national team.
Information on the case is contained in a 74-page document outlining a request from Portuguese authorities to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami for assistance. The document, obtained by Bloomberg News, was first published by OffshoreAlert.com, a Miami-based website that reports on tax havens. Scolari is suspected of aggravated tax fraud and money-laundering.
“I declared all my income correctly,” Scolari, who led Brazil to its fifth and most recent World Cup win in 2002, said in a statement. “I’m absolutely convinced of the correctness of my declarations. If there’s something wrong, it’s not of my doing.”
Last week Scolari named the 23-man roster that will carry Brazil’s hopes into the tournament that starts June 12. It’s being played on home soil for the first time since 1950, an event that continues to be described as a national tragedy in Brazil after the nation lost the deciding game to Uruguay.
The 65-year-old was Portugal coach between 2003 and 2008. His image-rights payments were sent to companies in the Netherlands, the U.K. and the British Virgin Islands before being transferred to bank accounts in Miami, according to details of the Portuguese investigation outlined in the request to the U.S.
The case is the most recent one involving the tax status of high-profile soccer personalities and teams.
In February, Barcelona paid Spanish authorities 13.6 million euros to cover any shortfall related to its signing of Brazilian forward Neymar. The payment came after Spain’s National Court placed the club under investigation for possible irregularities linked to the June 2013 trade.
In a separate case, Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s four-time world player of the year, and his father appeared in court in September to give evidence after prosecutors accused them of evading 4.2 million euros in taxes on payments from Adidas AG.
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