Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor at the center of the “Operación Puerto” doping scandal a decade ago, appears in the “Panama Papers,” a Spanish daily reported Monday.
The international finance scandal has touched dozens of high-profile sports figures, including soccer star Leo Messi, but Monday’s allegations made in “El Confidencial” and Spanish TV’s “La Sexta” include Fuentes as the first major link to cycling.
According to reports in Spanish media, Fuentes opened an offshore account in 2005 using the offices of Mossack Fonseca, the international law firm at the center of the hacked documents that reveal how the world’s richest companies and individuals divert money offshore.
According to reports, Fuentes and an associate closed the account just weeks after he was detained as part of the Puerto scandal in May 2006. The documents revealed that Fuentes is linked to a transfer of 900,000 euros as a payment via “Trout Investment Corp.,” registered in Panama, but it is not known if those funds came from his illicit activities as part of the Puerto doping ring, or from other sources.
Several other Spanish officials and public personalities have been linked to offshore accounts via the “Panama Papers,” including Spanish movie director Pedro Almodovar, the sister of the former king of Spain, and a government minister, who resigned four days after his name appeared in the papers.
There was no comment from Fuentes, who was found guilty for endangering public health in the long-running Puerto trial. He is currently appealing the ruling and has returned to medical practice in his native Canary Islands.
Officials are awaiting an appeal ruling in the Puerto case that will determine if anti-doping officials can finally get their hands on up to 200 bags of blood and other evidence currently in the hands of the Spanish courts. Officials were hoping for a decision by early April, but there is still no news from the Spanish appellate court.