Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell arrested in money-laundering probe

23 May 2017 04:54

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has been arrested in Spain as part of a multi-national investigation into alleged money-laundering.

In a joint operation, Spain's national police and civil guard raided several addresses in Andorra and Catalonia, arresting five people, including Rosell and his wife.

The 53-year-old businessman was Barcelona's president between 2010 and 2014, when he resigned following a Spanish court's decision to investigate the 2013 transfer of Brazilian star Neymar from Santos.

This new operation, dubbed 'Rimet' after FIFA's longest-serving president Jules Rimet, is related to the sale of image rights for the Brazilian national team to a company based in Qatar.

According to Spanish reports, confirmed to Press Association Sport by Spain's Ministry of the Interior, 15 million euros (£12.9million) was diverted to a bank in Andorra.

In a joint statement, the national police and civil guard said among those arrested were people "allegedly part of a criminal organisation linked to the world of football and the organisation of sporting events".

It is understood the Spanish authorities were acting on information received from the United States-led investigation into corruption in world football which has seen dozens implicated in North, Central and South America.

One of those men, Ricardo Teixeira, the former president of the Brazilian FA, was a close associate of Rosell's when the Spaniard was a senior executive for Nike in Brazil.

Teixeira quit sports politics in 2012, citing medical reasons, and has been under investigation by the Brazilian and Spanish authorities ever since.

Rosell and Teixeira have always denied any wrongdoing and Barcelona agreed to pay a £4.7million fine for avoiding tax on the Neymar deal in 2016.

Source: PA


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