Swiss aid in tax probe of former French footballer

AFP - [email protected]
Swiss aid in tax probe of former French footballer
Former French international and ex-Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly. Photo: Ilya Khokhlov

The French footballer Marcel Desailly is suspected of hiding money from the taxman in Paris, it emerged on Tuesday. Authorities in Switzerland say they are helping their counterparts in France probe Desailly's accounts.


The Swiss government's weekly list of official administrative announcements showed that the Alpine country's tax administration had received a request for assistance from France.
The government said that it would provide French authorities with documents related to assets at a branch of Swiss banking giant UBS.
It did not specify whether the ex-France centre back, who played for England's Chelsea among other clubs, was considered to have done anything wrong or was simply subject to a routine probe.
Switzerland and France have a longstanding accord that fights tax fraud and ensures individuals do not pay tax on the same money to both countries.
Under the rules, France is required to make formal requests for information about named individuals.
Desailly is not the only former France international who is being investigated by his homeland's tax authorities.
In June, Switzerland said it was helping Paris investigate ex-midfielder Patrick Vieira, who now works for English club Manchester City.
The previous month, it announced that it had received a request for information about former midfielder Claude Makelele, the current manager of French club Bastia.
As with Desailly, Switzerland did not say whether any wrongdoing was involved in the Vieira and Makelele cases.
Under Swiss law, Desailly has 30 days to say whether he opposes the handover of documents.
Desailly was a member of France's victorious 1998 World Cup and 2000 European championship squads.
He became captain of Les Bleus after the latter tournament, and also captained Chelsea during his 1998-2004 stint with the Londoners.
He ended his France career in 2004, after notching up what was then a record 116 caps for his country.
Since retiring from the professional game in 2006, Desailly, who is now 45, has carved out a career as a television pundit in Britain.



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