Vieira was identified as being part of an alleged fraud scheme that consisted of high commissions attributed to Bruno Macedo, through the purchase and sale of players.
The investigating judge Carlos Alexandre agreed with the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) regarding the seriousness of the crimes that Luís Filipe Vieira, president of Benfica, is suspected of. Both Rosário Teixeira, the prosecutor in charge of this investigation, and Carlos Alexandre admit that the president of Benfica was identified as being part of an alleged fraud scheme that consisted of high commissions attributed to the businessman and lawyer Bruno Macedo – through the purchase and sale of players – with diversion of funds from Benfica SAD, which later reverted to the president of the club to pay off debt from his companies.
According to ECO, the investigation identified fraud schemes for the personal benefit of Luís Filipe Vieira and his companies, the main victims being Benfica, the former Espírito Santo Group, the current Novo Banco and the Portuguese state.
At stake are crimes of qualified fraud, aggravated abuse of trust, falsification of documents, money laundering and qualified tax fraud, in an investigation that has already resulted in the arrest of Luís Filipe Vieira, businessman José António dos Santos, his son Tiago Vieira, and Bruno Macedo. They will all be heard by judge Carlos Alexandre between Thursday and Friday.
But what arguments were given by DCIAP and validated by the investigating judge? What is at stake in an investigation that goes back a decade, with the Monte Branco case? And what is Benfica’s role in this context?
- At stake is a scheme of several frauds set up to the advantage of Luís Filipe Vieira and his companies at the expense of damaging the interests of Benfica and SAD, the former GES and Novo Banco and the Portuguese state, both in terms of tax evasion, public financing of the Resolution Fund and the contingent capital agreement mechanism (for the losses caused to Novo Banco by the unpaid debts of Vieira’s companies);
- Luís Filipe Vieira allegedly had the support of his son, Tiago Vieira, and football businessman, Bruno Macedo, through the agency of players and intermediation in transfers, using false documents, in order to transfer amounts to Luís Filipe Vieira’s companies in Portugal;
- Bruno Macedo, also a lawyer, allegedly used companies created in Portugal (such as BM Consulting or Astro Sports, among many others) and also companies based abroad and created by third parties, falsifying documents. Nuno Sérgio Durães Lopes, António Rodrigues de Sá and Dantas Machado set these structures up;
- DCIAP believes that football businessman Bruno Macedo and the president of Benfica reached an agreement to ensure that Macedo was always involved in player transfer operations, in which he unduly increased the commissions inherent to the sale of players that then reverted to Luís Filipe Vieira’s companies;
- Master International was created to handle the transfer of the players Gonzalez Galeano and Cláudio César Correia, involving a sum of €1.28 million, which did not end up in Benfica’s funds,
- The Trade In company was used to guarantee the economic rights of the player César Martins, who, shortly afterwards, sold these same rights to Benfica for a much higher amount, increasing costs that took €1,3 million euros from the club;
- Between 2015 and 2016, Benfica SAD paid €2.63 million to Master International, earnings that were allegedly agreed to by Luís Filipe Vieira and Bruno Macedo so that, in part, they could then benefit the companies of Vieira’s business group;
- Offshore companies were thus created in the United States, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, controlled by Bruno Macedo, which allowed the transfer of almost €2.5 million to Luís Filipe Vieira’s companies;
- The funds originating in Benfica ended up being mobilised, between 2016 and 2017, to the accounts of the companies Promotav and Votion, an amount that was used to repay financing granted by banking institutions to Promotav, OnlyProperties and Cofibrás, all companies of Luís Filipe Vieira’s business group;