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Court Cases

Portugal opens tax fraud probe into Brazilian football coach Scolari

The head coach of Brazil's national soccer team is facing a tax investigation by Portuguese authorities. The probe comes less than a month before Brazil hosts the World Cup.

Prosecutors in Portugal confirmed on Wednesday that they had opened a tax fraud investigation against Luiz Felipe Scolari, the coach of the Brazilian national soccer team. Scolari was Portugal's head coach between 2003 and 2008.

According to media reports, Scolari is accused of not disclosing around seven million euros ($9.6 million) during his tenure with the Portuguese national team.

Scolari denied the charges and said he paid all the required taxes when he worked in Portugal.

The Prosecutor General's office also announced it had requested help in the investigation from other countries, including Brazil and the United States. Prosecutors believe Scolari - who also had an ill-fated spell as the coach of English club side Chelsea - was able to hide the income by moving it into accounts overseas. The Associated Press obtained documents from US justice officials showing that the US had granted a Portuguese request to examine a series of bank accounts in Miami.

During Scolari's tenure as head coach in Portugal, he led the team to the final of Euro 2004. It is considered one of the country's top soccer achievements. Prior to his time in Portugal, he coached the Brazilian national team to a World Cup title in 2002. He'll be seeking another title with Brazil as the host nation. The home team opens the World Cup with a group stage match against Croatia on June 12.

mz/rc (Reuters, AP, AFP)