Brazil coach Scolari investigated on suspicion of tax fraud, money laundering

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Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is under criminal investigation in Portugal for suspected tax fraud and money laundering, according to U.S. court documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Portuguese tax authorities suspect 7.4 million euros ($10.1 million) that was transferred from Portugal to a bank in Miami between 2003 and 2008, when Scolari was coach of Portugal’s national team, were local income that the Brazilian did not declare.

A U.S. district judge last week granted Portugal’s request for a series of Miami bank accounts to be examined, Florida court documents show. An assistant U.S. attorney was placed in charge of collecting the evidence.

Taxe fraud and money laundering together carry a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison in Portugal, and the investigation is an unwelcome distraction for the Brazil coach as his country prepares to host the World Cup.

The 65-year-old Scolari denied any wrongdoing after the court documents were first reported Monday by OffshoreAlert, a Florida-based site specializing in fraud investigations.

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