French anti-corruption police raided the homes of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) players Angel Di Maria and Javier Pastore including the club’s offices on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged financial offences, a source close to the probe said.
The players are being investigated in connection with the probe into the use of tax havens to hide earnings from the marketing of image rights, the sources said.
Police operations were conducted as part of an investigation opened last December by the national financial prosecutors’ office into alleged laundering of money acquired by fraud, the source said.
That same month, a group of 12 European news outlets began publishing the results of months of investigations into millions of financial documents obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel and dubbed the “Football Leaks”.
Police also searched the home of Argentinian striker Emiliano Sala, who plays for Ligue 1 side Nantes.
The Paris head office of PSG as well as its administrative offices were raided, the sources told AFP, confirming a report by French investigative news website Mediapart.
According to the site the raids were the first in connection with the tax evasion allegations contained in the leaks published by Mediapart along with a consortium of media outlets known as European Investigative Collaborations.
The paper alleged that Di Maria, who joined PSG in August 2015 from Manchester United, and Pastore pocketed millions through offshore transactions.
According to Mediapart, PSG signed a contract with an offshore company in Panama through which it took a share of the player’s earnings, although the club told the paper it had never received a commission from any tax haven company.
But PSG insisted the contracts of Pastore and Di Maria “were concluded in perfectly regular conditions”.
“Paris Saint-Germain have handed over all information and documents asked of it on the subject of two of its players,” the club added.
Recalled that the club lost in an unexpected fashion in the UEFA Champions league, while they also play their final match of the season – a French Cup final against Angers at Stade de France.
The final could be a crucial game for the future of coach Unai Emery with the club losing their league title to Monaco.