If Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore was determined to keep South American football-style transfer market investors out of English football, the deepening financial crisis meant other clubs in Europe needed them more than ever. As the credit crunch spread, and Portugal requested a €78 billion bailout, the circle of investors advancing money to clubs widened to include businessmen who were close to Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates.
While in Brazil everyone from taxi drivers to pop stars took stakes in the future transfer rights of players, these types of investment were less common in Portugal. They were usually restricted to some of the richest and best-connected businessmen, who mixed with powerful team executives.
Among them was Paulo Lalanda de Castro, a 53-year-old Portuguese pharmaceuticals executive living abroad in a hilltop mansion a short walk from FIFA's $250 million headquarters in bucolic surroundings on a hill above Zurich. Lalanda de Castro lived in a mansion built on the side of the hill, a leafy and tranquil enclave where the Swiss elite enjoyed fine homes with views of Lake Zurich and the snow-capped Alps.
He was a board member of Octapharma, a Swiss company that manufactured potentially life-saving medicines made from human plasma for patients in intensive care. He had joined the company in 1986, just three years after it was founded. The family-owned company, which on its website described human plasma ...