Police in Switzerland raided the headquarters of European soccer’s governing body Wednesday after UEFA’s ex-secretary general Gianni Infantino appeared among those named in the so-called Panama Papers.
“UEFA can confirm that today we received a visit from the office of the Swiss Federal Police acting under a warrant,” UEFA said in a statement.
UEFA said it handed over evidence to the police showing details of a Champions League television rights contract between UEFA and two offshore marketing agencies previously involved in the FIFA corruption scandal. Infantino now serves as head of FIFA, the world soccer authority.
Further, UEFA said it “is providing the federal police with all relevant documents” and the European soccer authority will “cooperate fully” with the investigation.
The contracts in question were for Ecuadorian TV rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League finals in 2006 and 2009. Infantino was the head of UEFA’s legal department at the time and signed the contracts.
The two Argentinian businessmen who co-signed the contracts with Infantino, were recently indicted by American federal prosecutors for their role in the FIFA corruption scandal.
Offshore trading company, Cross Trading, bought the TV rights for UEFA Champions League games in 2006 for $111,000 and then immediately sold those rights to Teleamazonas, an Ecuadorian broadcaster for $311,170. Similarly, Cross Trading bought the rights to the UEFA Super Cup for $28,000 and sold them to Teleamazonas for $126,200.
The contract documents surfaced as part of a massive leak of internal files from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm that helps facilitate the creation of offshore companies, like Cross Trading, where rich and powerful people can put their money to avoid paying taxes.
In total, more than 11 million documents were leaked in what has come to be known as the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal. An anonymous source handed the documents over to the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which subsequently shared them with 107 other media countries in 78 countries across the globe.