BrandArena: Barcelona settles tax fraud case over Neymar transfer

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Barcelona settles tax fraud case over Neymar transfer

Spanish Liga football club Barcelona have agreed to pay a fine of €5.5m (£4.38m) to the Spanish authorities to settle a tax fraud case over the transfer of Brazil international Neymar in 2013.

Barcelona had been accused of concealing part of Neymar's transfer fee when he moved to Spain from Brazilian club Santos, with several investigations carried out in Spain and Brazil.

Barcelona has consistently denied any wrongdoing, with Spain’s public prosecutor having originally requested a substantial fine for the club and jail terms for former and current presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu. Barcelona originally said that the signing of Neymar from Brazilian Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A club Santos in May 2013 had cost €57.1m.

However, the club then admitted that the deal was worth nearly €100m and voluntarily paid an extra €13.5m to the Spanish treasury after being charged with tax fraud. Including tax, the total cost of signing Neymar to Barcelona should have been €94.9m, according to prosecutor Jose Perals.

The case had transferred to the Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona, and Barcelona has faced probes in Spain and Brazil over allegations that it had concealed part of Neymar’s transfer fee when he moved to the Catalan giant. In a statement on Monday evening, Barcelona said: “The Board ... has decided to approve the agreement presented by the club's legal services with regard to the case surrounding the signing of Neymar Jr, currently being heard in the Courts of the Province of Barcelona.

“The agreement involves the recognition by the club of an error in tax planning for the signing of the player, for the fiscal years 2011 and 2013, when they did not correctly withhold payments resulting from his incorporation. In addition, the club has been exonerated from responsibility for the fiscal year 2014, which was also part of the proceedings.

“The Board considers the approval of this agreement to be a positive step, one that puts an end to a situation of legal uncertainty that could have affected the viability of the club's sporting and economic plan in the coming years.”

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