Brazil’s Federal Police have just broken up a soccer corruption ring that illegally raised an estimated US$ 24 million over the last two years.
The crackdown, known as "Operação Firula" [a word used to describe a star soccer player’s ability to control the ball], culminated in a luxurious condo in Rio de Janeiro where five businessmen were arrested for tax fraud, illegal remittances of money out of the country and money laundering.
According to the officer in charge of the investigation, the businessmen deposited money they received from commissions on the sale of Brazilian soccer players abroad in fiscal paradises where they could later transfer the money into Brazil without declaring it to the IRS (Receita Federal).
Receita Federal agents say they suspect that players were also getting some of the action.
"It looks like some players were using the same scheme to transfer their earnings abroad back to Brazil without paying taxes," declared Bruno Ribeiro Castro, of the Federal Police.