World Cup preparations for the head coach of Brazil include dealing with threats of jail time.
Luiz Felipe Scolari is under investigation for money laundering and tax fraud according to U.S. court documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
Portuguese authorities say Scolari transferred just over $10 million to an American bank between 2003-2008, and that it was income undeclared by the coach (then managing the Portuguese national team)
Tax fraud and money laundering together carry a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison in Portugal, and the investigation is an unwelcome distraction for the Brazil coach as his country prepares to host the World Cup.
The 65-year-old Scolari denied any wrongdoing after the court documents were first reported Monday by OffshoreAlert, a Florida-based site specializing in fraud investigations.
“I have correctly filed all my tax returns. In all the countries where I’ve worked, I’ve always declared my income,” Scolari said in a statement sent to the AP in Sao Paulo late Tuesday. “If anything is wrong, it’s not my fault. I hope justice gets to the bottom of the facts.”
FIFA had no comment on the story.
The bad news will be an interesting subplot as Brazil plans for its own World Cup, and perhaps its fitting that a tournament which has been plagued by financial trouble, building problems and civic unrest will see its host nation’s coach in hot water as well.