Zidane’s Agent Used U.K. ‘Letterbox’ Company to Evade Taxes

The former agent of three-time world soccer player of the year Zinedine Zidane used a so-called U.K. letterbox company as part of a plan to avoid paying more than 2.5 million euros ($3.2 million) in taxes, according to the ruling of an appeal court in Valencia, Spain.

Alain Migliaccio was sentenced to five years in prison and fined 9.2 million euros after he set up London-based International Sport Consultant Ltd., or ISCL, to “create the appearance” he was taxed in the U.K., according to a ruling sent by e-mail by a court official today. About 95 percent of the earnings were sent to a bank account in the tax haven of Panama, the ruling said.

Migliaccio, who moved to Valencia from France in 1997, used the services of financial planner Matthew Edwards and Co. the following year to form ISCL, a letterbox company that had nominee administrators and “no economic activity at all,” the ruling said. A phone call to the Isle of Man-based company seeking comment on the judgment wasn’t immediately returned.

Migliaccio represented several members of France’s 1998 World Cup-winning team including Zidane and Laurent Blanc, according to the ruling which didn’t mention player trades he brokered at the time. Migliaccio broke his link with ISCL at the end of 2001, the ruling said.

Nigel Jordan, an official for the U.K.’s Inland Revenue tax authority, provided evidence in an initial criminal court case in Valencia that on April 30 ruled Migliaccio as guilty of tax evasion. The appeal court ruling dated Nov. 2 agreed to reduce Migliaccio’s sentence to five years from seven years.

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