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Joao Felix transfer: EU politician accuses Benfica of money laundering

Joao Felix celebra un gol ante el Eintracht Frankfurt

AFP

EU MEP Ana Gomes has suggested that Benfica are trying to launder the expected 126 million euros they will recieve from Atlético Madrid for Joao Felix.

Atlético Madrid’s signing of Joao Félix was expected to be announced two weeks ago. But the official transfer has been delayed due to the procedures that Benfica must carry out in Portugal to trade on the stock exchange and so that the transfer revenues collected by can be counted in the upcoming fiscal year starting on 1 July.

Atlético are expected to pay Benfica a staggering 126 million euros for the 19-year-old striker. And one EU MEP in Portugal, Ana Gomes of the Socialist Party, has controversially suggested that the whole operation could be part of manoeuvre to launder money.

Journalist questions reasons behind Felix €126m fee

Gomes made the allegation responding to a tweet by a journalist for Portuguese newspaper Sabado, Bruno Faria Lopes, who questioned the motives behind paying such a high price for the young footballer.

“A 19-year-old footballer, who played half a season in the third division, sells for 120 million euros, the fourth-highest transfer ever. I have not yet read a rational, reasoned explanation for this,” tweeted Lopes.

In response, Gomez commented: “Is it not the business of money laundering?”

The MEP’s comments has garnered hundreds of responses from Twitter users, many responding with likes while others blasted her for her accusation and called out hypocrisy coming from a member of the Portuguese political system that has a poor reputation when it comes to corruption.

Benfica confirm €126m Atlético offer

In line with financial laws in Portugal, Benfica must go through the Portuguese Securities Market Commission before making official any signing as it is listed on the stock exchange and on Wednesday it published a statement in which it confirmed Atlético had made an offer of 126 million euros for Felix. 

A Benfica statement released to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission read: "Benfica informs, under the terms and for the purpose of article 248-A of the Portuguese Securities Code, that Atlético Madrid submitted a proposal for the acquisition of the sports rights of the player Joao Félix for a total amount of €126m, which is being analysed.

"It is further informed that the proposed value above the termination clause contemplates the financial cost indexed to the payment of benefits provided for in this proposal.

"In case Benfica accepts the proposal presented, the net to receive from Atlético Madrid on the date of the transfer of the sports rights will amount to €120m."