As Barca celebrates its historic comeback against Milan restoring that tarnished sheen in some style, their president Sandro Rosell finds himself under a bit of a cloud. Brazilian prosecutors after a three year investigation have leveled fraud charges against him in his role as organizer of a 2008 friendly between Portugal and Brazil played in Brasilia. If found guilty and convicted, Rosell could face upto eight years in prison time.
The Brazilian authorities allege that Ailanto, the company owned by Rosell bypassed the normal bidding process obtaining a false document awarding them the contract. The district governor, Jose Roberto Arruda has been accused of collusion. Ailanto received $4m for organizing and promoting the match. However, documents show only a receipted expenditure of $400,000 which in any case had been paid for by the FBF, the local affiliate of the CBF (Confederacion Brasiliano de Futebol).
Rosell's lawyer counters by saying that these are old charges which the police were unable to prove and the contract has to with "owning rights" which circumvented the usual bidding process. When you talk of multi-million dollar profits in the beautiful game and illegal means in Brazil then you have to look no further than Ricardo Teixeira, the former CBF president who resigned recently from the World Cup 2014 organizing committee after widespread allegations of financial irregularities and corruption.
Sure enough, Ailanto has been linked with Teixeira, although no new charges have been filed against the former CBF honcho but Rosell suspiciously as per said documents, deposited an amount of $2m in one of his daughter's bank accounts in 2011. Rosell moved to Brazil in 1999 as one of Nike's top executives with the responsibility of cultivating the powerful friendship of Teixeira and the CBF. The most intriguing point is Ailanto was set up just months before the match and soon after Rosell became a director there. As this Economist article reveals, the two men had their fingerprints on all kinds of sketchy financial deals and it invariably appeared to involve a payoff of some sort to Teixeira.