Portuguese authorities charged Brazil’s national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari with tax fraud, less than a month before the World Cup starts, a prosecution spokesman said on Wednesday.
Scolari is accused of hiding about 7 seven million euros (HK$74 million) in income when he was Portugal’s coach between 2003 and 2008, according to media reports.
He has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
“I made all my income tax declarations correctly,” Scolari said in reaction to the press reports.
“I always declared my earnings in all the countries I worked in,” he insisted.
“I am absolutely convinced of the correctness of my declarations.
“If there is something wrong it is not of my doing.”
The inquiry threatens to taint Brazil’s preparations to host the World Cup, which starts on June 12.
Scolari coached Brazil to their World Cup triumph in 2002 and has returned to the national side for the campaign on home territory which they are favourites to win.
Portugal reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2006 when Scolari was in charge.
The Portuguese inquiry is being carried out by the Central Department for Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions.
Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad said Scolari received money from two Netherlands-based companies, Chaterella Investors and Flamboyants Sports.
Portugal has asked US authorities for assistance in the inquiry as the money was believed to have been transferred to the United States, the Dutch daily added.
Financieele Dagblad said Scolari transferred money through companies based in the Bahamas and other tax havens.