A win against Tottenham (1-4), a draw against Manchester City after a crazy game (4-4)... After months and a complicated season, Chelsea have found some happiness on the pitch in the last two weeks. But, in the offices, the London club is suspected of having circumvented financial fair play, at the time when Roman Abramovich was the owner of the Blues.
The "Cyprus Confidential" investigation, conducted by several media outlets, including The Guardian and Le Monde, highlights secret financing, via offshore companies, to several personalities surrounding the oligarch and Chelsea. In particular, the signing of Eden Hazard is mentioned. To unblock the transfer of the Chelsea player, and satisfy the demand of his agent John Bico-Penaque, a payment of 7 million euros was reportedly made by Leiston Holdings, based in the British Virgin Islands and owned by Abramovich, to a company based in Dubai. The contract was signed on behalf of the company by Bico-Penaque.
Installments, you name it
In another suspicious payment analysed by Cyprus Confidential, Leiston Holdings paid 1 million pounds (1.15 million euros, today) to the Association des jeunes espoirs de Bobo, in Burkina Faso, the former club of Bertrand Traoré, who arrived at Chelsea in January 2014, via a contract signed by Traoré's brother, David.
A business that is rolling, since 7 million euros were allegedly paid between 2005 and 2017 to companies linked to Vladica Lemic. The latter, an agent of Luka Modric, was accused in 2018 of tax fraud, using his brother's company to pay less tax. Previously, with an advisory role to Abramovich, he would have had an important role in the recruitment of Arjen Robben, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and even Carlo Ancelotti.
Contacted by The Guardian, the London club defended itself: "These allegations predate the current ownership of the club. They are based on documents that have not been presented to the club and do not relate to anyone currently at the club. »
After Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Roman Abramovich was forced to sell the club before sanctions were imposed on him and the club by the British government. The oligarch had managed to sell "his" club for 4.25 billion pounds (4.97 billion euros), the largest sum for a sports club, to a group led by Todd Boehly. Abramovicth bought Chelsea for £140 million (€160.7 million) in 2012.
- Premier League
- Roman Abramovich
- Eden Hazard
- Financial Fair Play