Police obtain court order to examine Diego Costa’s bank accounts as they investigate ex-Chelsea star for ‘betting scandal’

POLICE investigating ex-Chelsea striker Diego Costa for an alleged betting scandal have won a court order to examine his bank accounts.

The 33-year-old, currently a free agent after terminating his contract with Brazilian top-flight side Atletico Mineiro, was named last October as one of those questioned by detectives in the state of Sergipe where he is not.

4

Police investigate ex-Chelsea striker Costa over alleged betting scandalCredit: AFP

His lawyer insisted once it was identified that the football star was innocent of any wrongdoing and would contact the police himself to make a voluntary statement.

A court in Sergipe has now approved a police request for the footballer’s confidential banking information, including details of his Spanish accounts, according to reports in Brazil.

Media giant Globo’s sports portal, Ge, said Federal Court officials accepted the petition after the Spain international, who has been linked with clubs around the world including Arsenal and Benfica since he became a free agent last month, was only “unable to explain” his financial relationship. with the online betting site Esportenet.

Spain has reportedly already been notified of the Brazilian court’s decision, paving the way for the lifting of bank customer confidentiality that normally protects customers’ financial activities under the high profile investigation.

There has been no response from Costa to the latest reports, which come after the footballer was interviewed late last year and reportedly said he was a customer of the betting site.

Ge reported that he claimed during his sworn quiz that he was merely a “consumer”, but was unable to give detectives his username and password.

Most read in the Premier League

She adds, citing sources close to the ongoing investigation: “As regards the Federal Police, the dynamics of financial movements between Diego and the members of the group demonstrates a volume of transfers which would be incompatible with this version.”

Detectives went public with the operation Costa was caught in at the end of September last year.

They said at the time that a footballer they had not officially named was one of the suspects being investigated and described him in an official statement as the “alleged financier of a criminal scheme” in an official statement.

They also confirmed having seized more than £1.75 million in cash during searches linked to an investigation into “alleged practices of gambling exploitation, money laundering, foreign currency exchange and of criminal association involving the ESPORTENET betting site, its owners, financial and financial operators.’

Atletico Mineiro, Costa’s club at the time, appeared to confirm the former Stamford Bridge striker was the footballer at the center of the police investigation saying they would support him if he asked for help in a press release.

His lawyer Aurelio Belem later confirmed that Costa’s home in the Brazilian town of Lagarto had been raided.

But he denied police claims that Costa was the alleged financier of any criminal racketeering, telling local media: “A search took place at his house, which is his house in Lagarto. The state police were received by his relatives.

Costa's home in the Brazilian town of Lagarto was raided

4

Costa’s home in the Brazilian town of Lagarto was raidedCredit: GETTY

“This search took place because Diego, as a European citizen, as a person living in Madrid, Spain, placed legal and legitimate bets on games.

“Somehow it was detected and became subject to checks.

“The police carried out their search as they wanted, without any interference.

“They took nothing, nothing was seized, neither documents nor money. Absolutely nothing.

“The search failed in the sense that nothing was confiscated.

“There was a search but no seizures. Nothing was removed from the house.

He added, claiming that the footballer would contact the police to offer to give a statement: “The truth is that Diego wants to know what the charge against him is, even if in a way there is no accusation from a legal point of view.

There was a search at Costa's home but no seizures

4

There was a search at Costa’s home but no seizuresCredit: Reuters

“There is no basis for this investigation.

“We all know the burden of proof is on the accuser and we’re relaxed about that.”

Costa, full name Diego da Silva Costa, moved to Chelsea from Atletico Madrid in 2014 in a deal worth £32m.

He won three trophies including two Premier League titles during his time at Stamford Bridge.

He returned to Atletico Madrid in 2018 after a breakup with then-manager Antonio Conte.

Costa, a dual citizen of Brazil and Spain, joined Atletico Mineiro on August 14 last year, signing a deal until December 2022.

After becoming a free agent, he was said to have had informal talks with the Gunners, but reports at the time indicated he was interested in moving to Corinthians to join former Chelsea team-mate Willian.

Costa won the Brazilian Serie A last season

4

Costa won the Brazilian Serie A last seasonCredit: Reuters

Earlier this month it was reported he was available for £46,000 a week and has reportedly been offered to Bundesliga club Mainz on a deal worth a fraction of what he would have earned at Chelsea.

He was photographed over Christmas cruising the streets of Brazil in a tractor.

The striker posted the clip of himself driving the vehicle to his five million Instagram followers.

Shawanda H. Saldana