Portuguese authorities are investigating Brazil’s national football coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for tax fraud, media reports said Wednesday less than a month before the start of the World Cup.
Scolari has strongly denied any wrongdoing as he prepares Brazil to host the tournament which starts June 12.
Prosecution sources quoted by Portugal’s Lusa news agency said Scolari was suspected of failing to declare seven million euros ($9.6 million) in income when he was Portugal’s coach between 2003 and 2008.
Scolari coached Brazil to their World Cup triumph in 2002 and has returned to the national side for the campaign they are hosting when they are again huge favourites.
Portugal reached the World Cup semif-finals in 2006 when Scolari was in charge.
The inquiry is being carried out by the Central Department for Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions.
The Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad said that Scolari received money from two Netherlands-based companies, Chaterella Investors Limited and Flamboyants Sports.
Portugal has asked the US authorities for assistance in the inquiry as the money was believed to have been transferred to the United States, the Dutch daily added.
Financieele Dagblad said that Scolari transferred money through companies based in the Bahamas and other tax havens.
“I made all my income tax declarations correctly,” Scolari said in a statement.
“I always declared my earnings in all the countries I worked in,” he insisted.
“I am absolutely convinced of the correctness of my declarations.
“If there is something wrong it is not of my doing,” said Scolari, who invited the authorities to look into “all the facts.”