Italian football clubs face tax evasion probe

AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani
AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani

Naples prosecutors have announced a sweeping investigation into allegations of falsifying player transactions to avoid as much as €12million (£9million) in taxes involving as many as 35 Serie A and Serie B teams.

Italian financial police are executing search warrants against about 60 suspects working in professional football, including team managers, players and agents.

They are also exercising seizures of cash, property and financial holdings equal to the amount of tax allegedly evaded.

Agents are searching offices at AC Milan's headquarters, news agency ANSA reported.

Prosecutors allege that agents improperly billed the teams for transaction services rendered on behalf of players, allowing the teams to declare a deduction for the services while players received an undeclared fringe benefit by having the teams cover their agents' fee.

Lawyers for Milan confirmed that club vice president Adriano Galliani was among those under investigation.

In a statement posted on the team's website, the lawyers dismissed the allegations as unfounded and said they expected the case to be dismissed.