DI MARIA, PASTORE IN TROU­BLE

Their homes raided in PSG tax probe

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PARIS

IN­VES­TI­GA­TORS raided the head­quar­ters of Paris Saint-Ger­main and the homes of the club’s Ar­gen­tinian stars An­gel Di Maria and Javier Pastore on Tues­day in a tax fraud probe, le­gal sources said.

French pros­e­cu­tors launched the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in De­cem­ber fol­low­ing rev­e­la­tions by the “Foot­ball Leaks” web­site con­cern­ing fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions and other de­tails in­volv­ing top foot­ball play­ers.

Di Maria and Pastore are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in con­nec­tion with the probe into the use of tax havens to hide earn­ings from the mar­ket­ing of im­age rights, the sources said.

Po­lice also searched the home of Ar­gen­tinian striker Emil­iano Sala, who plays for Ligue 1 side Nantes.

The Paris head of­fice of PSG as well as its ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices were raided, the sources told AFP, con­firm­ing a re­port by French in­ves­tiga­tive news web­site Me­di­a­part.

Ac­cord­ing to the site the raids were the first in con­nec­tion with the tax eva­sion al­le­ga­tions con­tained in the leaks pub­lished by Me­di­a­part along with a con­sor­tium of me­dia out­lets known as Euro­pean In­ves­tiga­tive Col­lab­o­ra­tions.

The pa­per al­leged that Di Maria, who joined PSG in Au­gust 2015 from Manch­ester United, and Pastore pock­eted mil­lions through off­shore trans­ac­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to Me­di­a­part, PSG signed a con­tract with an off­shore com­pany in Panama through which they took a share of the player’s earn­ings, al­though the club told the pa­per they had never re­ceived a com­mis­sion from any tax haven com­pany.

But PSG in­sisted the con­tracts of Pastore and Di Maria “were con­cluded in per­fectly reg­u­lar con­di­tions.”

“Paris Saint-Ger­main have handed over all in­for­ma­tion and doc­u­ments asked of it on the sub­ject of two of its play­ers,” the club added.

The raids come just days be­fore PSG play their fi­nal match of the sea­son — a French Cup fi­nal against Angers at Stade de France.

The fi­nal could be a cru­cial game for the fu­ture of coach Unai Emery with the club los­ing their league ti­tle to Monaco.

They won the League Cup tro­phy and the French Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, mi­nor tri­umphs for a club of PSG’s stature. But they suf­fered hu­mil­i­a­tion in the Cham­pi­ons League with Barcelona turn­ing around a 4-0 first leg loss in the round of 16 to whip the French club 6-1 at the Nou Camp.

Pre­vi­ous leaks also tar­geted Real Madrid’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Manch­ester United’s Paul Pogba, and the lat­ter club’s Por­tuguese coach Jose Mour­inho.

Ron­aldo is al­leged to have hid­den €150 mil­lion (RM705 mil­lion) in off­shore ac­counts in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands.

France star Pogba used the Chan­nel Is­lands to stash away money at the re­quest of his agent Mino Raiola, the leaks al­leged.

For­mer Eng­land star David Beck­ham was also the vic­tim of Foot­ball Leaks rev­e­la­tions, when hacked emails from the ex-Eng­land cap­tain pub­lished by Me­di­a­part claimed he was us­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian work in at­tempts to gain a knight­hood. AFP

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