US entrepreneur’s bid for 25% of Benfica rejected
Benfica boss — it’s all over
Luís Filipe Vieira, the Benfica boss at the centre of a multimillion euro fraud and tax evasion scandal, has finally officially resigned as president of the football club.
After informing he was standing down temporarily from the club last week pending the outcome of investigations, he has now definitively renounced his position in a letter sent to the general assembly members of Benfica SAD.
The resignation letter comes the day after Benfica turned down an offer from a wealthy US investor, John Texor to buy 25% of the football club.
The Portuguese entrepreneur José António Santos, a legal defendant in the police investigation into Vieira’s illegal business dealings, ‘Red Card,’ had “two sale agreements” for 25% of the capital of Benfica SAD to the US investor, but the deal is now off the pitch because the board led by Rui Costa has now turned it down.
According to the online news source ECO, Benfica will appoint an administrator to “completely reject” the operation if a meeting of the general assembly is called to approve the deal.
BenfIca SAD’S general assembly can turn down the deal because it has the voting rights to do so.
The football club’s statutes state that the purchase of shares that represent more than 2% of SAD’s share capital “by a competing entity” have to be approved by the holders of Category A shares, which are held by the club which represent 40% of the capital.
John Textor is a co-founder, current Head of Studio and leading shareholder, of fuboTV/Facebank Group (NYSE: FUBO), having previously served as CEO and Executive Chairman.
Facebank Group is a developer of digital human likeness for celebrities and consumers, which recently completed a merger with fuboTV, Inc., a leading OTT technology and content delivery platform.
Featured as “Hollywood’s Virtual Reality Guru” by Forbes Magazine in 2016, Textor is widely credited as a pioneer of the new industry of Holographic Entertainment, responsible for the 2012 appearance of Virtual Tupac at the Coachella in 2012, Virtual Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards and the development of Virtual ABBA (2019).
He was previously Chairman of Digital Domain, a leading visual effects company responsible for the visual effects of more than 80 large scale feature films, such as Transformers, Flags of our Fathers, Tron:Legacy, Real Steel, Pirates of the Caribbean and Thor. Under Textor’s leadership, Digital Domain doubled its revenues, was re-established among market leaders in visual effects, and won multiple Academy Awards.
The Benfica scandal made headlines in both the international business and sports press last week when Vieira was arrested on a number of financial offences.
Vieira, who had been president of the Lisbon-based football club since 2003 faces a raft of prison-able charges including embezzlement, money laundering, fraud and tax evasion.
The 72-year-old was considered to be one of the most economically powerful figures in sport on the Iberian Peninsula yet could not immediately find €3 million to pay bail.
Other suspects in the case include the Benfica president’s son Tiago Vieira and the entrepreneur known as ‘Chicken King,’ José António dos Santos who has the largest chicken business in Portugal.