Luís Filipe Vieira, who suspended his post as chairman of Benfica last week after being arrested in connection with an investigation into allegations of tax evasion and money laundering, has resigned.
Vieira, who ran the club for 18 years, said in a letter to the chairman of the board that he was no longer able to perform his duties after his arrest.
“The directors of… Benfica are calling on (the fans) to unite around their common goals and safeguarding the club’s best interests,” Benfica said in a statement posted on its website, adding that the board would meet on Friday to finalize the leadership changes. .
Vieira, 72, was taken into police custody on July 7 for being questioned about transactions worth more than 100 million euros which “may have caused significant losses to the state and to several companies. “, said prosecutors. Three other people also held for questioning, namely Thiago, Vieira’s son, businessman José Antonio dos Santos – known as “Chicken King” – and agent Bruno Macedo, were released on bail. .
A court ruled on July 10 that Vieira would remain under house arrest until € 3million was paid and ordered him to surrender his passport, giving him 20 days to pay the money. Rui Costa, former vice-president of Benfica, took over the presidency last Friday after Vieira’s suspension. He has reportedly indicated that he would like to take on the role on a permanent basis after previously serving as vice president under Vieira.
Meanwhile, US businessman John Textor said he had requested a meeting with Benfica’s board of directors next week after it was announced on Tuesday that he had reached a deal to buy a stake in 25% in the Dos Santos club. In a lengthy message to supporters posted on his website, Textor denied having had any previous business dealings with Vieira after some board members allegedly suggested he was “too closely associated” with the former chairman and said. said the only time he had met him was to sign the agreement.
The 57-year-old then dismissed claims that his interest in buying minority shares in Crystal Palace or Fulham would represent a conflict of interest.
“Crystal Palace and Fulham?” I am not currently an investor or owner of any other football club anywhere in the world, ”Textor wrote. “I have clearly expressed my interest in becoming a minority owner (not a controlling owner) of an English football club in the future, but that means that I am not a competitor now (under any definition in the statutes of the SL Benfica)… and is it not true that SL Benfica considered similar ideas to develop in the UK? “
Textor also said he had “asked the board to give these ideas a chance” amid reports in Portugal that his investment would be blocked.
“It seems clear that this won’t happen, but maybe someone on the board isn’t thinking about the optics or the upcoming elections, and we can implement some good ideas,” a- he added.
“I have no opinion on who the next president / chairman should be, although I do think the direct management is first class and ready for a start in global markets. As for me, I am completely independent… and my helpful proposals, which are exactly what the club is looking for, should not be dismissed due to a two hour meeting which is quite appropriate for the purchase I was considering.