João Vale e Azevedo

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João Vale e Azevedo
Born João António de Araújo Vale e Azevedo
(1957-05-17) 17 May 1957 (age 58)
Lisbon, Portugal
Occupation Former lawyer and former chairman of S.L. Benfica
Religion Christianity
Criminal charge Money laundering, fraud
Criminal penalty 10 years (expected release in 2021)
Criminal status Incarcerated in the Estabelecimento Prisional de Lisboa
Spouse(s) Filipa Vale e Azevedo

João António de Araújo Vale e Azevedo (born 17 May 1957) is a former Portuguese lawyer and convicted money launderer, who was the 31st president of S.L. Benfica.


Early life[edit]

He was born in Lisbon, Portugal. In 1980, Vale e Azevedo was awarded a degree in law by the Law School of the University of Lisbon. Between 1979 and 1982 he was an assistant lecturer (monitor) at the same institution. From 1981 to 1983 he was a law consultant for the Portuguese Prime Minister Francisco Pinto Balsemão. In 1983, he co-founded a law firm - Vale e Azevedo & Associados, and was a managing partner of the firm until 2000. He was a vice-president of International Jurist and a member of the International Bar Association, Association Internationale des Jeunes Advocats, Union des Advocats Europeens and Bank Attorneys. Since 1983 he has been also a shareholder, CEO and/or chairman of several companies operating in different businesses, including finance, food, electricity and real estate.[citation needed]

Chairman of Benfica[edit]

In October 1997, Vale e Azevedo became the 31st president of S.L. Benfica, the youngest ever. He won the elections with 51.1% of the votes. During his three-year presidency, Benfica ran up huge debts and at times was unable to pay taxes or players' salaries. Prosecutors also investigated 14 counts of embezzlement. These included allegations that he kept $1 million from the transfer of Sergei Ovchinnikov from Benfica to Alverca FC. He was indeed sent to jail while prosecutors investigated allegations that he embezzled at least $1 million (£680,000) from the club and laundered cash through offshore banks. In 2001, the then 45-year-old lawyer, was under house arrest in Portugal. Prosecutors, who feared he would flee the country or tamper with evidence, obtained his imprisonment the previous month.[1]

Emigration to the United Kingdom[edit]

Vale e Azevedo has lived in London since 2006. There he has been the chairman and CEO of a financial company with participations in sugar, cereals and etanol, as well as renewable energies.[citation needed]

On 12 November 2012, he was detained in London.[2]


List of trophies won by the club during his presidency:

Roller Hockey


  1. ^ Benfica face financial uncertainty, BBC News (25 September 2001)
  2. ^ Vale e Azevedo detained in London (12 November 2012) (in Portuguese)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Manuel Damásio
President of Benfica
Succeeded by
Manuel Vilarinho