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Portuguese Police Raid Soccer Clubs In Probe Possibly Linked To Russian Crime

Police in Portugal have carried out searches at several soccer clubs as part of a probe into suspected money laundering with possible links to Russian crime.

In a statement on May 3, Portugal’s Prosecutor’s Office said police searched the offices of 22 clubs, including Lisbon’s Benfica and Sporting, two of Europe’s more successful sides.

A police source told Reuters that the third-division side Uniao de Leiria, which is owned by Russian businessman Aleksandr Tolstikov, was at the center of the investigation.

Tolstikov did not respond to telephone calls from Reuters. An e-mail sent to Tolstikov’s address listed on the website of his D-Sports agency was returned as undeliverable.

Nobody was available for comment either at Uniao de Leiria.

Tolstikov bought the bankrupt club, which was once coached by Jose Mourinho, in 2014 and last year it had as many as seven young Russian players.

Besides Tolstikov, another Russian national and two Portuguese have reportedly been indicted in the probe.

Based on reporting by Reuters