Former Brazil soccer boss probed for money laundering: source

Mon Jun 1, 2015 8:30pm EDT
 
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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The former head of the Brazilian soccer federation, Ricardo Teixeira, is facing charges of money laundering and tax evasion, a police source said on Monday, as an international bribery scandal put the spotlight on Brazil's national sport.

Teixeira's successor as president of the CBF federation, José Maria Marin, was arrested on Wednesday by Swiss police along with six other executives of world soccer body FIFA on indictments for corruption brought by U.S. authorities.

The Federal Police source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case, said an investigation into Teixeira's bank accounts carried out earlier this year found that he had laundered money and violated currency regulations. Teixeira has not been indicted by a judge.

Teixeira, the former son-in-law of long-time FIFA boss Joao Havelange, was not available for comment.

Teixeira left the CBF in 2012 amid criticism over his preparations for the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil hosted, and a police investigation into reports that he had taken millions of dollars in bribes from a sports marketing firm. Teixeira denied the allegations and was not charged with any wrongdoing.

A congressional inquiry in 2001 that looked into the CBF's sponsorship contract with sportswear company Nike found irregularities and called for Teixeira's resignation, but resulted in no charges against him. That deal, signed in 1996, when Teixeira was CBF president, was worth more than $300 million.

Brazil's Senate last week decided to open a new inquiry into alleged corruption in Brazilian soccer led by 1994 World Cup soccer star Romario, who is now a senator.

Romario last week praised the U.S. Department of Justice for the arrests at a FIFA meeting in Zurich, saying Swiss police had raided a "rats nest." Romario said Teixeira's arrest in Brazil was only a question of time.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simoes; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler)