The Argentine tax man reviewing football players transfers and contracts
The head of Argentina’s tax office, AFIP Ricardo Echegaray announced in a press conference the agency had blocked the identification of 146 taxpayers connected to the football business. “We have to ensure football’s coherency and transparency” he remarked.
In the light of the controversial transfers of two players to Argentine first division clubs, the AFIP tax agency established new measures regarding football players’ transfers, buying, cession and all money transactions involving players.
The new rules, aimed at eliminating suspected tax evasion and published on the Official Gazette, are part of an effort to crackdown on suspected money laundering. According to the 3376 General Resolution, the measure contemplates “hiring, transfers and dissociations of professional football players of the prime league.”
Football clubs in Argentina have been required since early this year to provide detailed reports of any transfers in an effort to prevent money laundering.
Defender Jonathan Bottinelli joined promoted giants River Plate from fellow first division side San Lorenzo during the off-season in a transfer involving Union San Felipe, a Chilean club the 27-year-old centre back has never played for.
AFIP said in a report on its website (www.afip.gob.ar) they had discovered the transfer was for a fee of 1.7 million dollars to be deposited in an account in Miami and were investigating an alleged account the club has in the Virgin Islands.
River Plate reportedly bought 60% of the player’s rights in a country where footballers are often the property of various agents and entrepreneurs as well as clubs.
The AFIP said it believed Bottinelli had become a free agent - the owner of his own rights to a contract - at the end of last season yet figured on the books of San Felipe, owned by Argentine investors.
Midfielder Ignacio Piatti joined San Lorenzo from relegated Italian side Lecce via Sud America of the Uruguayan second division, where he has never played.
AFIP announced the creation of a Dynamic List of Sporting Fiscal Paradises where all clubs would be entered who had been involved in the transfer of a player who had neither emerged from their youth scheme nor played for them for at least a season.
Bottinelli and Piatti were due to meet on opposite sides on Sunday in the Argentine league but AFIP ordered the Argentine Football Association (AFA) to suspend about 30 players whose contracts have been under review since the transfer window closed last week.
The agency said in a statement that players would be given 10 days in which to advise it of any change in their status and contract they signed with a new club and deposits an advance tax payment.