10th September 2019

UEFA paid Ukrainian FA money into offshore account

European football’s governing body paid €380 million allocated to the Ukrainian football association (FFU) into an offshore account controlled by the owner of Dynamo Kiev, Der Spiegel reports. An investigation into documents provided to the Football Leaks project found that for 15 years (1999 to 2016), UEFA sent money – including solidarity payments, and payments relating to referee training, anti-racism, and facility construction – to Newport Management Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands.

In a 2016 internal memo, UEFA outlines that the company is controlled by Ihor Surkis (Ігор Суркіс), President of Dynamo Kiev, reports Der Spiegel. His brother, Hryhoriy Surkis (Григорій Суркіс), was President of the FFU from 2000 until 2012, and was a member of the UEFA Executive Committee from 2004 until 2019. The memo reportedly documents a UEFA delegation’s December 2016 trip to check Dynamo Kiev’s adherence to UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (CLFFP), which concluded that Newport Management was providing financial support to Dynamo.

It is understood that Newport Management was also used to pay players’ salaries. Similar offshore trusts have been used by various European football clubs to pay players, allegedly to avoid tax. One such club was Scotland’s Rangers, which used two offshore trusts to pay players from 1999 until 2009. 

Dynamo Kiev’s player dealings have previously attracted scrutiny. Last year, police investigated the August 2017 transfer of Andriy Yarmolenko from Dynamo to Borussia Dortmund. As part of the deal, a proportion of the transfer fee was supposed to be paid to a youth football organisation, but was paid to a shell company set up appropriating the youth football organisation’s name, and ended up transferred to a Cyprian company bearing the club’s name.

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