Benfica president arrested for tax fraud and money laundering

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President Luis Filipe Vieira of Benfica Lisabon looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Benfica Lissabon at Commerzbank-Arena on April 18, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Luis Filipe Vieira, president of Benfica of Portuguese top football league Primeira Liga, was arrested on Wednesday. Charges against him included "crimes of breach of trust, qualified fraud, forgery, tax fraud and [money] laundering," according to the Portuguese Public Prosecutor's Office.

Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action said "businesses and financing in a total amount exceeding 100 million euros (118 million U.S. dollars), which may have caused considerable damage to the State," are being investigated.

Vieira's son Tiago, football manager Jose Antonio dos Santos and sports agent Bruno Macedo were also arrested and placed under investigation by the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority.

The police issued some 45 warrants to investigate corporate premises, homes, lawyers' offices, and a banking institution in both Lisbon, Torres Vedras, and Braga.

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"The investigation is under the responsibility of the Tax and Customs Authority (AT) and has the close collaboration of the Public Security Police (PSP)," said the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action in a statement.

The police also revealed that the arrests were committed taking evidence already collected into account to "avoid the absence of defendants and prevent the consummation of suspicious actions in progress."

Detainees will remain in detention until a "judicial interrogation" is carried out due to the "gravity of the crimes and the precautionary requirements," confirmed the police.

Benfica finished No. 3 in the 2020-21 Primeira Liga season with 76 points following Sporting CP and Porto. They can start the UEFA Champions League qualification games from the third round.

Vieira became Benfica's president in 2003 and watched the club win seven Primeira Liga titles, three Ta├ža de Portugal championships, seven Ta├ža da Liga titles and five Superta├ža C├óndido de Oliveira championships.

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