The president of Benfica is in the Moscavide police station, in Lisbon. The arrest arose from the investigation relating to the Monte Branco case, which is more than a decade old.
The president of Benfica, Luís Filipe Vieira, and businessman José António dos Santos were arrested this Wednesday following an investigation on suspicions of fraud, abuse of trust and money laundering, first announced by TVI and after confirmed by ECO. ECO also knows that Luís Filipe Vieira’s son, Tiago Vieira, and Bruno Macedo, a businessman linked to the club for years, are also at the Moscavide police station. They will all be heard by judge Carlos Alexandre.
The suspicions are alleged fraud against the Resolution Fund, abuse of trust by Luís Filipe Vieira towards Benfica itself and also qualified fraud for the loans granted by Novo Banco to Vieira’s business group.
These arrests arose from the investigation relating to the Monte Branco case, which is more than a decade old. At stake is the suspicion of the existence of a network for committing tax fraud and money laundering crimes, amounting to hundreds of millions of euros.
The network allowed some Portuguese businessmen – from Switzerland – to evade taxes and make the evidence of their assets disappear. In the 2011 searches, the authorities extracted a judicial certificate in order to investigate Luís Filipe Vieira in relation to the debt he had with BES and that passed to Novo Banco.
The arrest comes after searches were done this morning involving Luís Filipe Vieira and long-time friend and biggest individual shareholder in Benfica SAD, José António dos Santos. He is one of the owners of the Valouro agri-food company.
According to national newspapers, the authorities also searched Novo Banco and C2 Capital Partners’ offices, a fund management company led by Nuno Gaioso Ribeiro (former vice-president of Benfica) and which is managing the credits and assets of Promovalor, Vieira’s economic group, as part of an operation to restructure debts to Novo Banco.
Officially, neither entity has confirmed these investigations or the arrest of Benfica’s president.
The Promovalor group is one of Novo Banco’s major debtors, with €466 million in debt in 2015. Part of the debt was restructured in 2017, with the transfer of real estate assets to C2 Capital Partners.
(article last updated at 5h26 p.m.)