AN INTERNATIONAL consortium of newspapers which includes The Sunday Times and El Mundo have reportedly joined together to obtain access to reports being held on website ‘Football Leaks’ which were apparently obtained by hackers who targeted various sports agents around the world.
It is alleged that Jose Mourinho arranged for large volumes of funds to be syphoned out of the UK and Spain whilst he was manager of Chelsea between 2004 and 2007 and Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013 and their eventual destination was the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The chairperson of the UK public accounts committee, labour MP Margaret (Meg) Hillier reportedly responded to a Sunday Times approach by confirming that the claims should be investigated and she will be speaking to the head of HM Customs and Revenue in committee shortly when she will raise the matter for comment.
In addition to Mourinho, it is claimed that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who played for the current Manchester United manager has also used his position to send funds from Spain to a British Virgin Islands established company thus allegedly cheating the Spanish tax agency of funds.
Both Portuguese born individuals are represented by agent Jorge Mendes and in a statement he has rejected all allegations of wrongdoing on their behalf and has stated that they are both compliant with all tax rules in both Spain and the UK.
The sums involved in moving money via Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and the BVI are quite significant and may amount to as much as €75 million, with the lion’s share supposedly coming from Ronaldo.
Considering that the Spanish authorities have been so determined recently to prosecute a string of Barcelona players including Messi and Neymar, it will be interesting to see whether this latest information will make them include Real Madrid in their review.
In the meantime, as the BVI is a UK Overseas Territory with a British appointed governor and with an obligation to act in accordance with instructions received from Whitehall, then it should not be that difficult for the Foreign Office and Treasury to get to the bottom of its involvement (if any) in these alleged activities.
Whatever the result of these accusations, it would appear that there are plenty of additional revelations to come about other sporting stars over the next few weeks.