He’s led an eventful football career that took in Chelsea in the Premier League and Atletico Madrid in La Liga, and now Diego Costa’s time in Brazil has taken an incredible turn.
Sport Bible, citing media in Brazil, have suggested that Costa is at the centre of a betting and money laundering scandal which has already seen £1.7m confiscated in cash.
Although authorities have confirmed that a footballer is involved they haven’t named him, and Costa hasn’t answered questions on the matter.
If it’s proved to be the 32-year-old, it’s difficult to imagine his football career continuing.
The Daily Mail cite a statement from the Federal Police of Sergipe which makes for grim reading for Costa.
“On Wednesday morning Sergipe State Police launched the second phase of an operation codenamed ‘Distraction’ with the aim of obtaining evidence for an investigation into the alleged practices of exploitation of gambling, money laundering, foreign currency exchange and criminal association involving the ESPORTENET betting site, its owners, financial operators and financier,” it read.
“In the first phase of the operation, which began on March 3 this year, documents and electronic equipment were seized that allowed the investigation to be deepened and the amount of R$13,129,217.00 – Brazilian real – (£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 organisation to allegedly commit foreign exchange fraud was verified, as well as the participation of a football player.
“At this stage, the investigation is focused on the foreign exchange fraud, with specific focus on the money changers and the betting site’s financier.
“Seven search and seizure warrants are being executed, two in Itabaiana in Sergipe, one in Lagarto in Sergipe, two in Simao Dias in Segipe, 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.”
There’s clearly more work to be done before criminal proceedings will begin, and a custodial sentence would almost certainly be the outcome for such a serious offence.
For now, Costa continues with Atletico Mineiro, who, it’s alleged, will support their player in the matter if required.