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Brazil's former soccer chief could face corruption charges

Following a two-year investigation into 2014 World Cup preparations involving almost $1.5 million in 'atypical' bank transfers, Brazilian federal police requested that prosecutors file corruption charges against soccer confederation ex-president Ricardo Texeira.

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Former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation Ricardo Teixeira (L) gestures next to FIFA's General Secretary Jerome Valcke at a committee meeting for the General Law of the 2014 World Cup in Brasilia in this November 2011 file photo. Teixeira is facing charges of money laundering and tax evasion, a police source said on Monday, as an international bribery scandal put the spotlight on Brazil's national sport.

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Brazilian federal police requested that prosecutors charge the former president of the country's soccer confederation with corruption crimes related to $147 million in "atypical" bank transfers as he led preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

Local news magazine Epoca was the first to report on the inquiry, saying it had obtained the two-year police investigation into Ricardo Teixeira, which was concluded and delivered to prosecutors in January but was not made public.

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Federal prosecutor spokesman Marcelo Del Negri in Rio de Janeiro confirmed by email early Tuesday the investigation exists, but said it's sealed — not an uncommon occurrence in Brazil — and could give no details.

Police and Brazil's national soccer confederation didn't return repeated calls seeking comment. It was not immediately possible to contact Teixeira or his representatives, and it's not clear if he has legal representation dealing with the investigation.

Under Brazilian law, only prosecutors can file criminal charges and they then must be accepted by a judge. That has not yet happened to Teixeira.

According to the report in the magazine, police have requested to prosecutors that Teixeira be charged with money-laundering, tax evasion, forgery and falsification of public documents related to bank transfers made between 2009 and 2012, in the run-up to last year's World Cup in Brazil.

The case isn't yet directly tied to the American investigation into FIFA, but Brazilian police have told local media they are willing to assist U.S. investigators if asked.

The 67-year-old Teixeira, who was once considered a potential successor to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, has faced allegations of corruption before, but the accusations have never stuck.

The one-time son-in-law of former FIFA President Joao Havelange, Teixeira resigned as the president of the Brazilian soccer confederation and the 2014 World Cup organizing committee in early 2012 after a contentious 23-year stint in charge of the sport in the country.

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When he resigned for what he said were medical reasons, local media reported that prosecutors had found evidence linking him to a company that organized a game between Brazil and Portugal in 2008 in Brasilia. The company was investigated for irregularities in organizing the match.

Teixeira was never convicted of any wrongdoing, but he was twice investigated by Brazil's Congress, including over a contract signed with Nike.

After Brazil won the 1994 World Cup, Teixeira found himself amid a controversy when players and officials tried to re-enter Brazil without paying proper taxes on gifts and other imported goods bought by them in the United States. Before the 2006 World Cup, prosecutors accused him and a tourism agency of selling tickets for the event without following legal procedures.

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AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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