The legal murk that surrounds the affairs of Argentina striker Carlos Tevez deepened further today.
A Brazilian judge has ordered the arrest of Tevez’s agent – and probable owner of his rights – Kia Joorabchian as well as the president and several directors of his former Brazilian club Corinthians.
Also ordered arrested was Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, the financial backer of MSI whose money brought Tevez to Brazil from Boca Juniors in the most expensive deal ever within South American football. Berezovsky lives in exile in London.
They have all been charged with money laundering and forming a criminal gang.
It follows an investigation by Brazil’s federal public prosecutor into the financing of the deal between MSI and Corinthians signed in 2004 which made the club the richest in South America, allowing it to buy Tevez and other stars.
They went on to clinch the Brazilian championship in 2005. But Corinthians and MSI never explained where the money came from or gave a clear indication of how they planned to make a profit in cash strapped Latin football.
The judge also ordered the freezing of all Corinthians bank accounts linked with its MSI partner, a major blow to the cash strapped club. No arrests have yet been made and Kia and Berezovsky are not in Brazil. The deal between MSI and the club has since turned sour with MSI believed to have turned off the cash supply and overseen the exit of nearly all the stars bought in early 2005.
The most high profile to leave was Tevez who moved with Javier Mascherano to West Ham last year in a deal that could still land the London club with a points deduction and relegation to the second division.
West Ham payed nothing for the players and Kia continued to hold their registration. This was deemed illegal and to avoid a points deduction Kia handed the club Tevez’s registration without West Ham receiving a fee – Mascherano having already moved to Liverpool.
Since then Manchester United have bid for Tevez but the authorities have made it clear that West Ham will be punished if they do not keep most or all of any Tevez fee.
This would rob Kia of his investment and Tevez – reportedly very close to Kia – has asked for West Ham to rip up the remaining three years of his contract to facilitate the move to United.
But the league indicate this would undermine the spirit of the agreement to transfer Tevez’s registration to West Ham and result in punishment which would almost certainly land West Ham a points deduction and relegation in place of Sheffield United.