Portuguese Primeira Liga leaders Benfica are being investigated for match fixing, reports in Portugal claim.
Media in Portugal say the investigation has come about as a result of hacked emails being accessed by prosecutors and relates to a four-year period between 2016 and 2020.
All those serving as directors and board members during that time-frame and beyond are involved in the investigation, including former Benfica, AC Milan and Portugal star Rui Costa.
Costa became the club’s vice-president in 2020 but ended up taking on the presidency when former head honcho Luis Filipe Vieira resigned from the post.
Vieira had been in the position for a long time but was arrested on charges relating to aggravated fraud, forgery, tax evasion and money laundering.
This inquiry alleges that Benfica benefited from a series of fraudulent results during that window and have appeared in court, as per the Daily Mail.
Benfica have acknowledged the investigation and confirmed it is ongoing in a brief statement, though no further comment has been provided.
“Taking into account the news made public today, Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol SAD confirms that it appeared in court on January 3, as well as, among others, the members of the Board of Directors from 2016 to 2020 and who are currently in office,” the statement read.
“Benfica SAD will not comment further as the trial is under legal secrecy. Benfica expresses its total willingness to collaborate with the competent authorities, as has always happened up to now.”
At the start of last year, Benfica denied claims that they paid a former Portuguese referee €1.9 million for favourable decisions.
It was alleged that Bruno Paixao received the funds from ‘Best for Business’, a third-party company set up by Benfica.
“The club has never been confronted with allegations of this nature, even in conjunction with the name Bruno Paixão,” a statement said.