Roman Abramovich is being questioned over his involvement in third-party ownership after a BBC investigation revealed the Chelsea owner previously held secret investments in players not owned by his club.
According to DailyMail Sports, the Russian held the economic rights to the players through a company based in the British Virgin Islands and one of them – Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo – played against Chelsea in two Champions League ties in 2014.
Abramovich’s involvement in the banned practice of TPO through an offshore company called Leiston Holdings will place more scrutiny on the business dealings of a man who has invested almost £2billion since buying Chelsea in 2003.
That includes a spending spree of £230million this summer.
The Premier League outlawed third-party ownership in 2008 following West Ham’s loan signing of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, but it was not banned by FIFA until 2015, the year after Carrillo played for Sporting Lisbon in two Champions League group defeats by Chelsea.
Leiston owned stakes in two other Sporting players – Gael Etock, who played for the club between 2012 and 2013, and Valentin Viola, who was in the squad between 2012 and 2016.
A spokeswoman for Abramovich said no rules were broken.
In December 2016, a Suspicious Activity Report was filed by a bank about Abramovich.
It identified more than $1bn of ‘suspicious payments involving offshore shell companies’ – firms functioning only to manage the money put in them.
The SAR said many of the shell companies were ‘owned by Roman Abramovich… one of Russia’s most powerful oligarchs with close ties to Moscow and Vladimir Putin’.
Chelsea have however declined to make a comment.