Tax officials looking into 2 football transfers

Tax officials are looking into the transfers of two Argentine

football players as part of a crackdown on suspected money

laundering in the Argentine game.

Argentina’s tax agency, known by the Spanish-language acronym

AFIP, said Tuesday it is investigating the transfers of Jonathan

Bottinelli of Buenos Aires club River Plate, and Ignacio Piatti of

San Lorenzo, also a high-profile Buenos Aires club.

The Argentine Football Association said both players would not

be allowed to play during the investigation.

Bottinelli played last season for San Lorenzo, but AFIP said

records show River Plate buying his rights from Chilean club Union

San Felipe. Bottinelli has never played in Chile.

Piatti played last season for Italian club Lecce, but San

Lorenzo shows him moving from Uruguay club Sud America.

”It is suspected that a maneuver has been carried out that

would permit hiding the true values of the transactions,” the tax

agency said in a statement.

Football clubs in Argentina heve been required since early this

year to provide detailed reports of any transfers in an effort to

prevent money laundering.

Many Argentine clubs are deeply in debt despite the vast sums of

money that flow through the country’s football industry, which

exports thousands of players to clubs abroad.