Brazil police to investigate Ricardo Teixeira

A prosecutor will order Brazilian police to investigate soccer federation president Ricardo Teixeira over a money transfer allegedly stemming from kickbacks.

Prosecutor Marcelo Freire confirmed Monday he will ask federal police to look into whether Teixeira illegally transferred money into Brazil. Teixeira, perhaps the most powerful figure in Brazilian soccer, is accused of taking kickbacks from a former FIFA marketing partner in the 1990s.

The BBC last year accused Teixeira of being one of the FIFA members involved in the alleged corruption scheme. Soccer's governing body has dismissed the allegations, and Teixeira denies any wrongdoing.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement to The Associated Press that the request to have police look into the money transfer will be made in the next few days. It said Teixeira will be investigated for money laundering and tax crimes.

The police are obligated to investigate, and the result could clear Teixeira or lead to charges against him, as well as uncover more information regarding the widespread corruption allegations made by the BBC. The investigation could take months, according to the prosecutor's office.

Teixeira is the president of the local organizing committee for the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil will host for the first time since 1950.

Teixeira has been repeatedly attacked by domestic media over alleged irregularities during his reign since taking over the federation in 1989. The Brazilian Congress has twice investigated Teixeira for alleged wrongdoings, but the inquiries were never completed.

There also have been protests by fans, including marches against Teixeira and social media campaigns criticizing him.

"There is always some kind of accusation against him, but they are never able to prove anything because he didn't do anything wrong," said Rodrigo Paiva, the Brazilian federation's spokesman. "Teixeira has never been convicted of anything anywhere."

Teixeira recently was accused of unethical behavior by the former chairman of England's Football Association, David Triesman. He said during a British parliamentary inquiry that Teixeira and other FIFA executive committee members engaged in improper conduct during bidding for the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA cleared Teixeira of the accusations, and the Brazilian official said the allegations were made because the English were upset over losing the World Cup bid.

Before FIFA's draw for the World Cup qualifiers in July, Teixeira called the English media corrupt and refused to talk to British journalists.


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