The president of the Portuguese Football League, Pedro Proença, criticized the lack of discretion in the searches carried out this Wednesday, within the scope of “Operação Penalti”, which investigates suspected fraud and tax evasion in the hiring of players from Benfica, Sporting and Porto . The Tax Authorities believe that the big three.
“Professional football is not above the law. Nor is it against the action of Justice and the authorities that have the duty to apply it. But the presumption of innocence, the right to discreet treatment of different understandings in tax matters, or otherwise, are inalienable principles for any citizen or sector of activity”, wrote Pedro Proença on his page on the social network Facebook.
For the president of the League, “Justice must assure everyone: effectiveness, discretion, celerity, equality and respect for constitutional guarantees” and “the events that became public yesterday [quarta-feira]regardless of its outcome, should make us seriously reflect on whether a judicial system that does not act discreetly and decide quickly, thus perpetuating suspicions, can be truly fair and effective”.
It should be recalled that there are two dozen contracts between players and the clubs FC Porto, Sporting and Benfica, from 2014 to last year, which led the tax authorities to carry out 67 searches in the respective stadiums, as well as in the residences of athletes, sports agents, accounting and law firms. At stake are suspicions of qualified tax fraud, fraud against Social Security and money laundering, which will have allowed clubs and players to “save” 58 million euros in taxes.
“Inquiries investigate suspected crimes of qualified tax fraud, fraud against social security and money laundering, linked to the conclusion or renewal of sports employment contracts, payment of commissions and financial circuits involving intermediaries in these businesses, as well as the use of image rights”, said the DCIAP yesterday. The Public Prosecutor Miguel Rodrigues investigates facts that occurred from 2014 to 2022, “with a strong international dimension”.
On the side of the clubs, the view of the authorities is disputed. Sources heard by JN explained that the SAD assume and pay the costs of intermediation with businessmen that should, according to the Tax Authorities, be the responsibility of the athletes. The Tax Authority considers that the clubs unduly deduct funds and that the players paid less IRS and Social Security than was due.