Filed: Tuesday, 18th September 2012
By: Staff Writer
West Ham are at the centre of a new third-party row involving former loan striker Brian Montenegro.
Last August the club announced that they had taken the teenage striker on a season-long loan from Uruguayan club Deportivo Maldonado. However it has now been revealed that the young striker, now 19, never actually played for the club.
According to a report published by Bloomberg, West Ham were one of three European clubs duped within the last 18 months as a result of unauthorised player trading - a system designed to greatly reduce tax burdens on South American football clubs.
According to lawyer Rodrigo Garcia, Montenegro is said to have been part of an elaborate scheme whereby Uruguayan clubs traded player's registrations which enables them to reduce the level of tax owed from 20 to five per cent.
Juventus, who paid Deportivo Maldonado €500,000 to take Marcelo Estigarribia on loan - and Porto, who signed Alex Sandro for €9.6million - have also been cited by the report, which insists that FIFA were aware of the situation but, according to one source, choose to "turn a deaf ear" to it.
The Argentinian tax agency claimed in a recent report that the arrangements, which involve "offshore companies" could be used for money laundering purposes. There is no suggestion that West Ham United are either involved with or aware of such practices.
"Montenegro, who turned 18 in June, has joined the Hammers on a season-long loan from Uruguay-based Club Deportivo Maldonado," announced the club's website on 29th August 2011.
However since leaving east London following the culmination of his year-long stay in the UK, the player has returned to Paraguayan club Tacuary - for whom he played between 2006 and 2011 - the club from whom Deportivo Maldonado obtained his registration.
The loan fee West Ham paid for Montenegro has never been disclosed.
West Ham were fined £5.5million by the Premier League in April 2007 over the deal which saw Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano arrive in east London after the club were found guilty of faling to disclose the full documentation relating to the transfers.
Two years later United reached an out-of-court settlement with Sheffield United after an independent tribunal chaired by Lord Griffiths found that Tevez's influence had cost the Blades their top flight status. The settlement cost West Ham in the region of £25million.
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