From Manchester to Lille, through the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands - the routes allegedly used by the English club to conceal an illegal investment fund were revealed by Football Leaks and may imply UEFA sanctions.
Documents released by Football Leaks and analyzed by several European media reveal that Manchester City (England) allegedly created a scheme to circumvent financial fair play regulations with the help of Lille's president and director general, Gérard Lopez and Marc Ingla. In 2013, Lopez and Ingla created a fund that managed TPO (third-party ownership) players' passes, which was secretly controlled by the English club through a Cayman Islands-based offshore company. There is a Portuguese name behind this revelation: Rui Pinto - the Hungary-based hacker whose extradition has been requested by the Portuguese judiciary - provided the documents that revealed this alleged scheme, and which could even lead to Man City's exclusion from the Champions League.
The scheme was allegedly created in 2012 by Man City's executive director Ferran Soriano (originally from Barcelona FC), who is said to have suggested the creation of a fund which would be "managed independently but under instructions from Manchester City." The plan consisted of investing €30 million in about 70 football players, over ten years, with an internal income rate of 30 percent. Among the targets of this company were the "best young players from South America" - and to bring them together, the fund could even purchase a local club that would "only be a platform for registering the players." The fund's favorite country is Uruguay, where a "facade club can register up to 40 players." Soriano's project was launched in March 2013 - although the sharing of players' passes had already been banned in England - with Man City's executive director looking for "a trustworthy partner." This would turn out to be Marc Ingla, with whom Soriano worked during his Barcelona FC years, and who had connections to Mangrove Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based investment fund founded and managed by Lille's president. The emails published by Football Leaks leave no doubt about the scheme. Marc Ingla himself admits that Manchester City was supposed to "appear as a fully independent entity and unrelated party," although the English club would " make all sports-related and investment decisions." Ingla also acknowledges the need to "circumvent financial fair play regulations."
Read more in O Jogo