Former Italy national team captain Fabio Cannavaro and his wife are being investigated for tax evasion, Italy's tax agency confirmed to The Associated Press.
Local media reported Wednesday that the investigation centers on a luxury yacht company that allegedly failed to pay more than €1 million in taxes (approximately $1.27 million) from 2005-10 and that tax police seized goods worth around that amount in the Cannavaros' hometown of Naples.
From the AP:
A statement from Cannavaro's lawyers said that the inquiry involves a company owned only by the player's wife, adding that the couple is convinced it did no wrong.
The lawyers, Luigi Petrillo and Virgilio Marino, added that they have been "ordered to provide judicial authorities with any explanation necessary, contesting the seizure carried out today."
Other sports figures have been investigated for tax crimes in Italy in the past, including fellow former soccer star Diego Maradona.
Spain and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is currently being prosecuted for tax fraud in Spain after allegedly withholding more than $5 million from authorities from 2007-09, along with his father. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that Messi would not be excluded from the case. His lawyer had argued he should be since Messi's father was responsible for the player's finances.
Cannavaro, 41, played professionally for 19 years for multiple teams, including Juventus and Real Madrid. He also earned 136 caps for the Italian national team, serving as captain from 2002 until his retirement for international play in 2010 and helping the team win the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
The defender was the runner-up for the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup and won the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2006.
Since retiring in 2011, Cannavaro has served in an ambassador and consultant role for Dubai team Al-Ahli, his final club.
- Ben Estes