LISBON – The Portuguese prosecutor’s office opened on Wednesday an investigation into the president and vice president of the soccer club Benfica over a case related to corruption, money laundering and influence peddling, among other crimes.
Sources in the prosecutor’s office confirmed to EFE that Luis Filipe Vieira and Fernando Tavares were among the 12 suspects being investigated in the case, five of whom had been detained, but did not specify the charges they were facing.
The case, dubbed “Operation Lex,” was investigating suspicions of corruption, reception of undue privileges, money laundering, influence peddling and tax fraud.
The suspects also included two judges, whose names have not been officially confirmed but whom the Portuguese press identified as Rui Rangel – who was nominated for the presidency of Benfica in 2012 – and his wife, Fatima Galante.
The five detainees included two lawyers and a Justice Ministry official.
In the framework of the investigation, 33 searches were conducted in various places in the Lisbon area and in the region of Algarve (south), including the Lisbon Court of Appeals, companies, law firms and private homes.
Benfica confirmed in a statement that searches were conducted at their facilities, but noted that they were part of an investigation that was not aimed at the club.