Earthquake in Benfica. President since 2003, Luis Filipe Vieira was forced to return – at least temporarily – his apron. The announcement was made by his lawyer this morning at the Lisbon Central Criminal Investigation Tribunal. “Benfica comes first. Faced with the events of recent days, within the framework of Operation Red Card, in which I am directly targeted, I am suspending with immediate effect my functions as president of Sport Lisboa e Benfica as long as the time of the investigation. I call on all Benfiquistas to be calm in defending the name of the Benfica institution ”, did he declare.
The strong man of the Lisbon club, 72, must hand over because he has been imprisoned since Wednesday as part of the red card operation. The investigation is underway and the latter is suspected of being involved in transactions amounting to € 100 million having harmed his own club, therefore, but also the State and two financial institutions: Banco Espirito Santo and Novo Banco. We are talking about suspected fraud, aggravated breach of trust, falsification of documents, money laundering and qualified tax evasion.
Rui Costa to act in the storm
According to The ball, the supposed maneuvers of the boss would have cost more than 2.5 M € to the club. This money would have left the coffers of the Lisbon team to pay commissions on transfers to an agent, on the accounts of his companies, some being offshore and therefore fleeing from tax obligations. The latter then paid a certain amount to companies in the LFV group, such as Promotav e Votion, via accounts in other tax havens via a well-established scheme. The transfers of Derlis González, Cláudio Correa and César Martins would be particularly affected by this very large-scale investigation.
The authorities demand that the pre-trial detention continue until the person concerned is heard and light is shed on this case, in which his wife and daughter are also suspected and in which Rui Pinto, whistleblower with the famous Football Leaks, actively participates, ensures for his part Record. For the residents of the Estadio da Luz, the aftershocks of this terrible shock are enormous. In an emergency, Rui Costa, vice-president and sporting director, should take the reins of the club at 49 years old to take over the interim and manage day-to-day affairs.
A sports emergency in the background
But this will only be a temporary solution. The statutes provide for the holding of elections if Vieira’s guilt is confirmed. Some candidates are already starting to warm up along the sideline. João Noronha Lopes and Rui Gomes da Silva, candidates defeated in the last elections in October 2020, could return to the forefront. Diogo da Silveira and Manuel de Brito could also follow, explains Record. This institutional crisis obviously has repercussions on the sporting level.
The summer transfer window of Benfica is indeed found “Frozen” (understand paralyzed) while some hot issues were well advanced. We think in particular of the recruitment of Portuguese international midfielder João Mario (28) from Inter. The situation is also at a standstill in the direction of departures, while certain elements, such as Chiquinho (25) or Gabriel (27), hoped to quickly seal their future. Jorge Jesus, who is coming out of a very complicated season for his return to the club, would probably have gone well with that, he who must prepare his team for two preliminary rounds to qualify for the next Champions League …
Source: Foot Mercato : Info Transferts Football – Actu Foot Transfert by www.footmercato.net.
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