April 17, 2021

«It is a subject of Portuguese football, not Casillas»

Casillas has been seen amid the latest controversy of Portuguese football. The day dawned with the news that tax agents and inspectors had registered the headquarters of several football teams in the Portuguese League, including the most important: Benfica, Porto and Sporting de Portugal; but also those of Sporting de Braga, the Vitoria de Guimarães, the Maritime and the Portimonense, within an operation against tax fraud and money laundering called “Operation Offside.” But the matter went to more. In total 76 records were carried out throughout the country, including the addresses of some players. One of them was that of Iker Casillas, porter of Porto and who recently announced his intention to stand for the elections of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The records caught Iker in Madrid and according to his surroundings, consulted by this newspaper, he was calm. “It was he who called the prosecution to make himself available,” they say. «It is not a subject of him, it seems more a subject of Portuguese football», add the same sources. According to some media reports, another of the homes that were inspected was the former player of Atlético de Madrid Jackson Martínez, who plays in the Portimonense. In total there are 47 defendants, 24 companies and 23 people, and the most popular name is that of the football agent Jorge Mendes, as published by the weekly «Expresso» in its digital version.

From the candidacy to the presidency of the mythical goalkeeper of the Spanish team a statement was made that goes in the same direction. “Iker […] It has been made available to the judicial authorities, collaborating with them at all times and providing all the documentation requested. Iker Casillas states that he is “absolutely calm” with respect to the investigations and that he has “full confidence” in the Portuguese Justice. Iker expresses his desire that “transparency reaches each and every corner of football.” “That is,” says the player, “one of the main reasons why I decided to run for the Presidency of the Spanish Football Federation,” they conclude.

The origin of the investigation is in the revelations carried out by the hacker Rui Pinto, who is currently in pretrial detention, in the “Football Leaks” case. And in their sights, the Portuguese newspapers say, is Jorge Mendes, one of the most important agents in the world of football and whose representatives, among others, are Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus star, and Atlético Joao Félix player; and his agency Gestifute, whose offices in Porto and Lisbon were registered, in addition to the two residences of Mendes himself.

The magazine «Saturday» revealed a month ago that the research focuses on contracts related to the image rights of professional footballers, as well as award contracts, subscription fees and commission payments to third parties for the intermediation in transfers. The main suspicion of the investigators is that clubs, sports corporations, administrators, players, coaches, sports directors, agents and lawyers have turned to alleged fictitious accounting documents to inflate costs, avoid the payment of VAT and Social Security contributions. All this meant that, according to the Luso Public Prosecutor’s Office, “professional football business carried out since 2015” is being investigated, which allegedly will have involved “actions aimed at preventing the payment of tax benefits due to the Portuguese State”. The judicial secrecy of the case has been decreed, which has not yet been concluded.

The investigation carried out yesterday throughout Portugal was carried out by 101 tax inspectors and 181 agents of the Republican National Guard (GNR).


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