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Super-agent Mendes has homes searched as part of massive money laundering investigation in Portuguese football

22:53 GMT+3 04/03/2020
Jorge Mendes
A total of 76 searches were done by authorities with several of the country's top clubs involved

Jorge Mendes' homes were a part of a series of searches conducted on Wednesday as Portuguese authorities investigate tax evasion and money laundering at some of the country’s top clubs.

The Portuguese attorney's office confirmed that the searches were conducted on Wednesday as part of Operation Fora de Jogo (Operation Offside), which saw almost 300 tax and police inspectors from the public prosecutor’s office conduct 76 searches.

Among those searched were some of the country's biggest clubs, including Porto, Benfica, Sporting, Braga, Guimaraes, Marítimo, Estoril and Portimonense.

In addition, two of Mendes' homes were searched by authorities while Carlos Osrio de Castro, Cristiano Ronaldo’s lawyer, and Gestifute, the Juventus forward’s representative that was originally established by Mendes, were also searched.

Gestifute also represents Jose Mourinho and several members of the Wolves squad, where Mendes is currently serving in an advisory role.

“As part of an investigation conducted by the Public Ministry of the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) and whose investigation is in charge of the Tax and Customs Authority (AT), 76 searches are underway, including house searches, namely, in several football clubs, their societies and managers, law firms and intermediaries,” said the attorney’s office in a statement.

“The investigation is likely to be part of the practice of crimes of qualified tax fraud and money laundering.” 

A statement from the Portuguese tax authority added: “The facts under investigation and which motivated the opening of the cases in question originated in several inspection procedures carried out since 2015 by the Tax and Customs Authority, and driven by it, based on the information available internally, within the scope of business related to the world of professional football."

Porto president Pinto da Costa and Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira are among those reported to be involved in the investigation as well.

Benfica said in a statment: “Sport Lisboa e Benfica - Futebol SAD and its Chairman of the Board of Directors confirm the search this morning for their facilities, reaffirming their total availability, as always, to collaborate with the authorities in clarifying all issues that may arise be raised under this or any other process."

Authorities began looking into potential money laundering relating to the transfers of players including James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Iker Casillas last month after a report from Football Leaks, which was led by 31-year-old Portuguese hacker Rui Pinto.

Pinto is still awaiting trial for alleged extortion, violation of secrecy and illegally accessing information.