Former Chelsea striker, Diego Costa investigated by police over gambling website
The 32-year-old striker, currently playing for Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro, has been
identified by the national press in his homeland as one of the people being
investigated by detectives in his home state of Sergipe.
Police are yet to confirm the identities of those they believe are involved in the
But they have said that an unnamed footballer is one of the suspects under
investigation. Detectives went public with their operation on Thursday, saying they
were probing the practice of alleged crimes, including money laundering and foreign
exchange fraud involving online betting site Esportenet.
Sergipe State Police said in a statement: “On Wednesday morning Sergipe State
Police launched the second phase of an operation codenamed Distraction.
“In the first phase of the operation, which began on March 3 this year, documents and
electronic equipment was seized that allowed the investigation to be deepened
and the amount of £1.77million in cash was seized.
“Based on the evidence collected, it was possible to identify other betting platforms
used by the group and individual companies and legal entities for alleged money
laundering and foreign exchange fraud
“The participation of money changers that help the criminal organization to allegedly
commit foreign exchange fraud was verified, as well as the participation of a football
player who is allegedly the financier of the criminal scheme.
“Seven search and seizure warrants are being executed, two in Itabaiana in Sergipe,
one in Lagarto in Sergipe, two in Simao Dias in Sergipe, one in Salvador in the state
of Bahia and one in Sao Paulo.
“The warrants were issued by a judge sitting at Itabaaina’s Sixth Federal Court.
“Warrants for the seizure of property belonging to those involved in the criminal
scheme are also being executed.
Unconfirmed local reports asserted Spanish international Diego Costa’s home was
among the properties that had been searched. There has been no official comment
from Costa But Atletico Mineiro appeared to confirm the ex-Stamford Bridge striker
was the footballer involved in the police probe, by saying they would support him if
he asked for help in a statement.
The statement, titled ‘Diego Costa Official Statement” and posted on the official club
website, said: “The reports do not concern the club.
“The allegations that have been put in the public domain weren’t previously known
to the public or the club because they formed part of an investigation and they relate
to a period which was prior to the athlete’s arrival here.
“However Atletico Mineiro is trying to find out more and if the athlete requires it, we
will offer him all the support that might be necessary.”