London: Brazil’s World Cup preparations have been dealt a massive blow following the news that national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is the subject of a criminal probe in Portugal.
While officials would not say what the investigation is about — in Portugal, ongoing investigations fall under the country’s judicial secrecy law — reports in Brazil and Holland claim Scolari is suspected of failing to declare millions of dollars in income, although he has denied any wrongdoing
The Portuguese attorney general’s office has, though, confirmed that the Department for Criminal Investigation and Prosecution has opened an inquiry into Scolari.
“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. “If anything is wrong, it’s not my fault. I hope justice gets to the bottom of the facts.”
Officials at the Portuguese Football Federation, who employed Scolari as the national team’s coach, could not be reached for comment.
If the Portuguese authorities decide to file charges based on what they find, Scolari will have to answer them in a Portuguese court. Tax evasion concerning large amounts of money carries a prison sentence in Portugal.