Suspicion regarding the transfer of Aleksandar Mitrovic, the Serbian striker, to Newcastle United lead to several raids in the cities of Monaco, London and Belgium this week. Two people were arrested during these raids, including an agent. The police suspected that money-laundering took place already during 2015 when Mitrovic moved from Anderlecht in a transfer to St James Park for the amount of £13 million.
The investigation started already early on during the year. Initially, the headquarters of Belgian FA was raided. During this week further raids were done of which four were done in Monaco, one was done in London and two in Belgium. The entire investigation is done in collaboration with the Belgian anti-corruption judge as well as Belgian tax officials and police. The assistance of British revenue officers and customs and the Metropolitan Police was also given in the probe.
Anderlecht under Suspicion
Although the details are still a bit uncertain at this stage, it seems that there are more transfers from Anderlecht which came under suspicion. At this stage, the assignments for Romelu Lukaku in 2011 to Chelsea as well as the transfer which took place during the previous season when Leander Dedoncker moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers are also under suspicion. Currently, Youri Tielemans is playing for Leicester City, but his transfer to Monaco during 2017, is also being investigated. The investigations into these transfers are linked to suspected bribe money which has been paid to officials at Anderlecht who assisted in facilitating the assignments of these players. These investigations into the activities and various parties involved with Anderlecht, could not be coming at a worse time for the club. Currently, they are experiencing an intense low in performance on the field and is only rated at number 13 within their league due to only being able to achieve one victory from six games played.
At the moment, the main focus in the investigation seems to be Christophe Henrotay. The agent is one of the parties arrested during one of the raids which took place in Monaco. It appears that his extradition back to Belgium is being arranged, while several assets including a Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche, boat and apartments have been taken. Henrotay is not only the agent of Thibaut Courtois but is also linked to Yannick Ferreira Carrasco. Carrasco was supposed to make a high profile move during the summer season, yet the move never materialized. He is also linked as the agent to Kevin Mirallas and Dieumerci Mbokani as well being a consultant to Daniel van Buyten. Another arrest which was made in Belgium is an associate of Henrotay, Christopher Cheniaux.
Even though this investigation is unrelated to the 2018 scandal which shook the Belgian football world when financial fraud, as well as match-fixing, was investigated, it does reflect badly once again on the local Belgium soccer scene.