Why Investigators raided Portuguese top football clubs

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Investigators swooped on a string of top football clubs in Portugal on Wednesday as a part of a tax evasion probe, the prosecutors office announced.

FC Porto, Benfica and Sporting Portugal were among clubs targeted along with the offices of top football agent Jorge Mendes, media reports said.

Around 100 tax inspectors backed by 180 police and a dozen magistrates carried out 76 raids on “clubs, their businesses and directors, as well as lawyers offices and intermediary agents,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

It added that the raids, codenamed ‘operation off-side’, were aimed at “professional football dealings which have taken place since 2015 and which included activities destined to evade paying taxation due to the state.”

Media reports said investigators were interested in deals involving the transfer of players, with prosecutors looking for efforts to hide or modify sums involved that could lead to charges including tax fraud and money laundering.

SOURCE: AFP

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