Chelsea face claims of secret payments in leaked files amid points deduction investigation

Chelsea faces Premier League points deduction over Abramovich's alleged secret offshore payments, revealed in leaked documents.

Chelsea are once again facing the threat of a points deduction after alleged secret payments from the Roman Abramovich era were unearthed in a trove of leaked documents.

Following the discovery of alleged secret payments from the Roman Abramovich period in a cache of breached documents, Chelsea is once more in danger of losing points.

The Blues are already under investigation by the Premier League over alleged financial breaches, which were reported to authorities by the Todd Boehly consortium once they took over the club in May 2022.

Meanwhile, alleged payments related to the transfers of Willian and Samuel Eto’o are also under the microscope, having recently come to light.

The payments, which were purportedly given to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, the previous owner of the selling club, Anzhi Makhachkala, are not thought to have been disclosed to either player.

Additionally, UEFA penalized the club £8.6 million for presenting “incomplete financial information” from 2012 to 2019.

According to a recent investigation by The Guardian and other media partners using documents that were hacked, Chelsea may have made a number of other covert payments that violated accounting regulations and financial fair play.

Over a 10-year period, the club was accused of making payments totaling 10s of millions of pounds using offshore accounts connected to Abramovich.

In addition to accounts pertaining to the transfers of Willian and Eto’o, the study claims that payments were made to certain individuals associated with Chelsea from offshore businesses under Abramovich’s control.

According to the documents, for instance, in March 2013, a Dubai account received €7 million (£6.1 million) from an account owned by Abramovich in the British Virgin Islands. John Bico-Penaque, Eden Hazard’s agent, signed the contract. Eden Hazard had transferred from Lille to Chelsea for £32 million the previous year.

Also, it is claimed that on the day Antonio Conte signed a new contract as Chelsea manager in July 2017, Federico Pastorello, an Italian football agent with close ties to the Italian national, purchased a 75% ownership stake in a Delaware-based corporation for £10 million through an offshore account owned by Abramovich.

Although Pastorello has already acknowledged to The Guardian that he is not Conte’s agent, he has discussed Conte’s contract negotiations in public.

The discovery of further such payments in the records could put the club in legal hot water even though the Boehly consortium self-reported the possible issues to the FA,  Premier League, and UEFA after discovering them doing their due diligence.

After purchasing the English club for £140 million in 2003, Abramovich oversaw a run of victories that included five Premier League trophies and two Champions League crowns. However, he sold the team last year after the UK government sanctioned him in response to Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine.

Even if Chelsea self-reported certain payments, the Premier League can punish the team or deduct points if the payments weren’t included in the initial annual financial reporting from the team.

With the FA also looking into the claims, the league is already also looking into Chelsea’s finances from 2012 to 2019, but since it has already fined someone and can only investigate matters from the previous three years, UEFA is unlikely to sanction anyone further.

A source from Mirror Football reached out to Chelsea for comment, but they did not reply. However, the club had previously stated in a statement:

“These allegations pre-date the club’s current ownership. They concern entities that were allegedly controlled by the club’s former owner and do not relate to any individual who is presently at the club.

“Chelsea FC’s ownership group completed its purchase of the club on May 30, 2022. During a thorough due diligence process prior to completion of the purchase, the ownership group became aware of potentially incomplete financial reporting concerning historical transactions during the club’s previous ownership. Immediately following the completion of the purchase, the club proactively self-reported these matters to all applicable football regulators.

“In accordance with the club’s ownership group’s core principles of full compliance and transparency the club has proactively assisted the applicable regulators with their investigations and will continue to do so.”

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