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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper: Many Soccer Clubs Evaded Taxes in '90s

CSKA, Dynamo and Lokomotiv may soon join Spartak in being investigated for tax evasion, according to incriminating documents published on the front page of Izvestia on Wednesday.

The newspaper reported that a number of soccer clubs transferred money they received for taking part in European competitions in the 1990s to foreign banks in a scheme designed to avoid taxes.

The paper said it has documents proving this and that they are all signed by the president of the Russian Football Union, Vyacheslav Koloskov -- suggesting the union either directly or indirectly allowed the clubs to break the law.

The Russian Football Union said Wednesday that there was nothing new in the documents and that the report was political chicanery ahead of a vote for a new president in December.

Izvestia published a document dated Oct. 30, 1995, that requests the transfer of 1.4 million Swiss francs to a Greek bank on behalf of Spartak and 90,161 Swiss francs to the Bank of New York for Dynamo Moscow. The document is signed by Koloskov. The newspaper also listed a number of similar transactions to foreign accounts for CSKA, Rotor Volgograd and Tekstilshchik Kamyshin.

Last month, Izvestia published documents from 1996 that showed Spartak transferred nearly 3 million Swiss francs earned from playing in Europe to a Spanish bank.

The Tax Police in late March opened a criminal case against Spartak over its sale of midfielder Dmitry Alenichev to Roma in 1998 for $7 million. Spartak is suspected of transferring the fee to a Swiss bank without the permission of the Central Bank, ostensibly as a way to avoid taxes.

The Tax Police said Wednesday that they had not leaked any documents and refused to comment about the case opened against Spartak or the latest Izvestia report.

The Russian Football Union did not deny that such transfers could or did happen. Vladimir Radionov, the union's general director, said all the documents were old and had been dealt with in the 1990s during a tax investigation of the union. The union had been fined for transferring its own money to foreign banks without informing the Central Bank but "nothing criminal" had been uncovered, Radionov said.

"It's nothing but politics," he added, saying the latest reports were designed to smear Koloskov ahead of the vote.

CSKA and other clubs named in the Izvestia report were unable or unwilling to comment Wednesday. Many of the clubs have different owners and staff from the time when the bank transfers took place.

Alexander Gorbunov, a veteran soccer commentator and editor of the Moi Futbol magazine, agreed that the report was nothing new, saying the transfers were public knowledge in the 1990s and Spartak has since been cleared by tax officials.

The tax authorities could not confirm or deny this Wednesday.

Gorbunov said the transfers are surfacing in the press because of the vote.

Koloskov has led Soviet and Russian soccer for the past 25 years. He was most recently re-elected president in 1998.

It was unclear Wednesday who might have an eye on his post. Among the expected candidates is Vitaly Mutko, president of the Russian Premier League.