Argentina looks to uncover player transfer tax evasion
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 24 — In light of the controversial transfers of two players to Argentine first division clubs, the government has published rules aimed at eliminating suspected tax evasion in football in the country.
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.
The government’s tax authorities (AFIP) said in a report on its website (http://www.afip.gob.ar) they had discovered the transfer was for a fee of US$1.7 million (RM5.1 million) 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 per cent of the players’ 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.
The 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 when River host the Saints at the Monumental on Sunday in the league but the 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 AFIP 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 deposit an advance tax payment.
The AFA and clubs have not commented on the issue. — Reuters