MADRID: A Spanish judge has ordered that former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell be detained in jail over allegations of money-laundering which implicate past and present heads of the Brazilian football confederation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Judge Carmen Lamela issued the order in the National Court after studying charges that the Catalan businessman was part of “a criminal organisation with a transnational scope.”
She decided that the organisation “was dedicated to laundering money from illicit commissions, derived from the sale by Ricardo Teixeira [then president of the CBF] of the rights of the national football team to a merchant based in Cayman Islands, identified as International Sports Events.
“All this was accomplished through a network of societies and accounts mainly in the Principality of Andorra.”
Also ordered to be detained was a business associate, Andorran lawyer Joan Besolí , for his involvement in the alleged charging of illicit commissions for the audiovisual rights of the Brazilian football team.
Both men were arrested by police and Guardia Civil officers with the cooperation of the Andorra authorities on Tuesday in Operacion Rimet.
Three other people were arrested including Rosell’s wife, Marta Pineda , who was released on bail although also the subject of the allegations of money-laundering of around €15m.
Also released on bail were Lebanese businessman Shahe Ohannessian and Andreu Ramos, considered to have led front companies on behalf of Rosell.
Court papers indicate that Teixeira was considered to have been the organiser of the network through which fees for friendly matches of the Brazilian national team were diverted through accounts in Switzerland, Andorra and the United States.
Also implicated in the scam were former CBF president Jose Maria Marin, who succeeded Teixeira in 2012, and current CBF president Marco Polo del Nero.
Marin was arrested in Zurich in May 2010 and extradited to the US where he denies charges in the FIFAGate case in which Teixeira and Del Nero have also been indicted.
Teixeira and Del Nero have evaded extradition from Brazil as citizens who are protected by a clause in the constitution.
However Teixeira was reported at the weekend to have been in negotiations with the US Justice Department. It is not known whether this was before, or after, the FBI passed on information which led the Spanish police to Rosell.