Still in preventive custody on suspicion of money-laundering, abuse of trust, fiscal fraud, aggravated fraud, document falsification and potentially even more, Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira has today suspended his presidency.
His lawyer however has stressed that suspension doesn’t mean Mr Vieira has renounced the presidency. It is simply that from a police cell it will be difficult to fulfill his responsibilities.
In a statement the 72-year-old has stressed: “Benfica comes first. In face of the events of the last few days in which I have been directly targeted and while the ongoing inquiry could be a factor of disturbance I am suspending with immediate effect the exercise of my duties as president of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, as well as all club affiliates.
“I appeal to all Benfica fans to remain serene in defence of the good name of the great institution that Benfica is”.
National media meantime is having a field day on everything Mr Vieira is allegedly suspected of having been involved in – including allegedly having pocketed hundreds of thousands of euros in money paid for player transfers.
Correio da Manhã claims today that Mr Vieira ‘risks being dragged into another complex case’ beyond the “Red Card” investigation that saw him arrested last Wednesday.
Computer ‘hacker’/ whistleblower Rui Pinto is said to be helping PJ police with their investigations, bearing in mind the private research that saw him held in preventive custody for months focused overwhelmingly on the world of international football (click here).
Meantime, former Benfica and national team player Rui Costa – currently vice-president of Benfica – is likely to take Mr Vieira’s place.