The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Spanish court charges Barcelona with tax fraud of 9.1 million euros in Neymar transfer
MADRID - A Spanish court charged Spanish league champion Barcelona with tax fraud of 9.1 million euros ($12.5 million) over the transfer of Brazil forward Neymar.
In a decision released on Thursday, Judge Pablo Ruz stated there was enough evidence to merit charges over Neymar's 57 million-euro (then $77 million) move from Santos last summer.
"The economic quantities paid by FC Barcelona to Santos for the sporting rights of the player and paid to other entities associated to the player means the player could have profited from the deal (...) and should be taxed on that income," the statement from the Madrid court read.
"Contracts between the signatories of the agreement may have been simulated, which would contradict the actual cause and purpose to the commitments and obligations set forth in these documents regarding the economic and formal aspects of the signed contracts."
The decision comes a day after public prosecutor Jose Perals charged Barcelona with fabricating contracts and using "financial engineering" to defraud the Spanish Treasury.
Ruz is also investigating former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell over the deal, which came to court after club member Jordi Cases, a pharmacist from the town of Olesa near Barcelona, filed a lawsuit.
Rosell quit soon after it emerged 40 million euros ($55 million) of the transfer was paid to a firm operated by Neymar's father, who has been called on to present documentation.
Barcelona has denied the charges, while Neymar took to social media before the judge's decision to vent about the situation his family finds itself in.
"I'm tired of this crap. I'm a fan of my father and I'll always be grateful for having taken me to where I am today," Neymar wrote on his official Instagram page, "and if he made millions over that, what's the problem?
"It worked, the money was not expected to just fall from the sky."
Neymar's father, who also goes by Neymar, has denied any wrongdoing and said all of his companies — four are listed in the court documents — are legally set up to pay taxes in Brazil.
Rosell resigned in January after the court decided to hear the lawsuit brought by Cases alleging misappropriation of funds and using false contracts to hide the true cost of Neymar's transfer to the club.
Neymar has 11 goals in 26 appearances since his move to Barcelona, which is top of the Spanish league, in the last 16 of the Champions League, and through to the Copa del Rey final.
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