Swiss police raid UEFA as offshore tax scandal spreads

Europe football body scoured for contract mentioned in the Panama Papers with broadcast rights allegedly sold for cheap.

    Swiss police raid UEFA as offshore tax scandal spreads
    Swiss Gianni Infantino says he is 'dismayed' that his integrity has been questioned [Ennio Leanza/AP]

    Swiss police raided the European football body UEFA on Wednesday to seize information about a contract disclosed in the Panama Papers that was signed by Gianni Infantino, now head of the global football body FIFA.

    Recently elected Infantino joined a growing list of public figures and political leaders whose financial arrangements have come under scrutiny after the release of the 11.5 million documents, which have caused public outrage over how the rich and powerful can hide money to avoid taxes.

    Infantino said he was "dismayed that his integrity was being doubted" by media reports that said the contract he signed several years ago as a UEFA official sold broadcast rights at a low price to a company which sold them on at a far higher price.


    READ MORE: Panama-based law firm says leak came from hack


    The Reuters news agency, which has not seen the documents, was unable to confirm this and UEFA denied that the rights were sold at below the market price.

    "UEFA can confirm that today we received a visit from the office of the Swiss Federal Police acting under a warrant and requesting sight of the contracts between UEFA and Cross Trading/Teleamazonas," UEFA said in a statement.

    British PM denies wrongdoing

    British Prime Minister David Cameron also faced another day of questions about his finances, because his late father was among the tens of thousands of people named in the documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca, which has denied any wrongdoing.

    After having at first described it as a private matter, Cameron's office said on Tuesday that he and his family did not benefit from any such funds at present. Cameron also said he did not own any shares or have any offshore funds.

    But his failure to say whether he or his family would benefit in future only intensified media speculation.

    Elsewhere, among those named in the documents are friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the leaders of China, Britain and Pakistan, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

    Investigations

    Poroshenko said he set up an offshore trust to separate his business and political interests after he became president and the arrangements were carried out with full transparency. He said he was not trying to minimise tax payments.

    Iceland PM becomes first casualty of offshore tax leak

    "There does not need to be an investigation," Poroshenko told reporters in Tokyo, when asked about the planned investigation by Ukraine's fiscal services.

    Iceland suffered further political fallout from the documents, with the government hoping to avoid early elections by trying to pick a prime minister to replace Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson.

    He stepped down after the documents showed his wife owned an offshore company that held millions of dollars' worth of debt from failed Icelandic banks.

    Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands are among nations that have started inquiries.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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