Brazil's football boss under closer scrutiny in Senate inquiry

Brazil's football boss under closer scrutiny in Senate inquiry

Senators conducting a special inquiry into possible corruption inside the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) agreed on Thursday to probe the private financial records of its president Marco Polo Del Nero.

The move increases pressure on Del Nero and marks a new front in Brazil’s attempt to clean up its national game at the highest level, at the same time as football`s world governing body FIFA faces U.S. corruption charges.

Romario, Brazil`s World Cup-winning former striker who is a senator and leads the congressional inquiry, said the move was crucial for Brazil to clear up what he called "suspicions" about Del Nero`s conduct as head of the confederation. 

Members of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission, or CPI, voted unanimously to investigate Del Nero`s private bank statements and tax returns.

"The Football CPI took an important step forward this morning," Romario said on his Facebook page.

"Since Ricardo Teixeira resigned the presidency of the CBF in March 2012 and was replaced by Jose Maria Marin at the head of the confederation, Marco Polo Del Nero has been the strong man of Brazilian football. And there is no shortage of suspicions about (him)," Romario said.

Del Nero took over from Marin as CBF president in April but has come under criticism in recent weeks for refusing to travel to FIFA events. 

Del Nero unexpectedly returned to Brazil in May from Switzerland, the day after Marin was one of seven FIFA officials arrested in that country on U.S. corruption charges. 

He did not go to a FIFA executive meeting in July or travel with the Brazil team to the Copa America in Chile in June.

The CPI, which began work in July, approved a request to examine all the CBF`s commercial contracts. 

"There`s a lot of data analysis to come," Romario said.

The CPI also voted to set up a working group of three senators who intend to visit the United States to interview Chuck Blazer, the former general secretary of CONCACAF, football`s governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean. 

Blazer has pleaded guilty to several U.S. corruption charges and has made a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The commission will also ask U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and British journalist Andrew Jennings to give evidence. 

Lynch led the U.S. investigation into corruption inside FIFA that led to the arrests in May, and Jennings has written books about FIFA`s alleged dirty dealings.