Fabio Capello’s €16m tax evasion scandal
An Italian involved in corruption – who’dve thought it?
To most Britons, Fabio Capello is known as a saviour of English football, who enjoys the occasional televised lapdance. To the Italian treasury, however, he is renowned for a lengthy history of tax evasion, financial deceit and eyebrow-raising offshore bank accounts.
Capello’s battle with the Italian authorities dates back to 1999, when he claimed to be a resident of a Swiss tax haven called Campione d’Italia. When he failed to recall the address of his studio flat in court, he signed a false residency declaration and paid a €2,300 fine.
The authorities’ suspicions were aroused once again towards the end of his spate with Roma, when the club paid €2m to a company named Sport 3000 for a range of Fabio Capello fragrances, scarves and designer items.
Sport 3000 turned out to be a subsidiary of the ‘Capello Family Trust’, an offshore holding company based in tax-friendly Guernsey and owned by England’s current manager. The items were kept under lock and key by customs officers for two years, and eventually destroyed. It was discovered that Roma agreed to purchase the smellies and designer tatt from Capello as a means of giving him a ‘low tax’ bonus on his salary – a legal but very sneaky practise.
The Sport 3000 investigation encouraged the Treasury to look further into the complex Capello financial empire, and our friends at L’espresso reveal the extent of their findings:
Revenue inspectors successfully outlined the financial boundaries of the soccer team manager’s empire, digging into the folds of trusts and offshore companies. Subsequently coming upon tax evasion equal to €16-million (including fines) and obliging the coach from Friuli to pay over €5-million in due taxes and administrative sanctions. Crushing proof was collected against the companies owned by Capello and his family members.
The record €5m fine Capello forked out for avoiding capital gains tax in a business venture with Genoa president Giochi Preziosi represents almost most of his annual £6m salary, so the extra £1m he received this week from the FA for ensuring England’s World Cup qualification will be gratefully received.
Since arriving in England, Capello has assured the FA his finances are in order, but his legal troubles appear to be far from over: public prosecutors in Rome are investigating him for perjury after he gave too many evasive answers when summoned for testimony in the trial of some Italian football agents last year.