Trading of Benfica shares temporarily suspended after arrest

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Portuguese securities market commission temporarily suspended trading of the shares of Benfica, Portugal’s most successful soccer club, on Monday following the arrest of its president.

Luís Filipe Vieira was placed under house arrest Saturday on bail of three million euros ($3.5 million) while being investigated as part of “Operation Red Card” for alleged fraud, money laundering and tax fraud.

The securities market commission said it suspended trading because of possible “irregularities” that could affect the management of Benfica, which itself was not under investigation.

The suspension was lifted about two hours later “due to information incorporated to the market.” The commission did not elaborate.

Defense lawyer Manuel Silva said the Benfica president denied any wrongdoing. The 72-year-old Vieira has run the club since 2003.

Former soccer star Rui Costa, who was a vice president, has taken over the running of the club.

American businessman John Textor has publicly said he is considering buying shares of Benfica and that he would like to meet with club officials.

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