Portuguese authorities search Porto premises over commission paid on transfers
Portuguese authorities investigating the payment of commissions exceeding €20m related to football transfers searched the headquarters of FC Porto and its president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa on Monday as part of “Operation Red Card”.
More than 30 different searches by officers from the public prosecutor’s office were carried out at a number of addresses in Porto and Lisbon, which included the club’s offices, a banking institution and several residences. It is understood that the €9m (£7.7m) that was paid to two agents as part of the €50m transfer that saw the Brazil defender Éder Militão move from Porto to Real Madrid in 2019 is one of the deals under investigation by the Departamento Central de Investigação e Ação Penal (DCIAP).
In a statement, the DCIAP said the investigation is concentrating on transfers to “have occurred at least since 2017 to the present, with a strong international dimension involving commission payments of more than €20m” and includes “the suspected practice of crimes of tax fraud, swindling, abuse of trust and laundering, related to football players transfers and financial circuits involving intermediaries in these businesses.”
Porto said in a statement that they collaborated fully with the investigation “on suspicion of judicial authorities of crimes of abuse of trust, tax fraud and money laundering that had their genesis in financial movements related to transfers of football players”.
In July, Benfica’s president, Luis Filipe Vieira, along with his son and well-known agent Bruno Macedo were arrested as part of the ‘Cartão Vermelho’ investigation. Vieira later resigned after being placed under house arrest having denied the charges of orchestrating a tax fraud and money-laundering scheme since 2014.
Macedo is also believed to be under investigation for commissions paid by Porto to him and his partner – Giuliano Bertolucci – on the Militão transaction when the Brazil defender joined Madrid in June 2019. Militão was sold for a fee of €50m and Porto state in their annual report that they earned €28.4m from his departure. According to the accounts, the remaining €21.6m was received by three parties, two of which were named as Macedo and Bertolucci.
A fee of €3.5m was paid to Macedo’s company – BM Consulting – while Bertolucci, the agent for the former Arsenal defender David Luiz, is referred to as having received a fee, but there is nothing within the document indicating how much.