13 May 2015

Barcelona faces tax fraud trial over Neymar transfer

Current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, face custodial sentences for tax crimes while the club could be handed a heavy fine.

Barcelona is set to be summoned to court after Spanish judge Jose de la Mata approved the decision to put the club and a number of individuals on trial for tax irregularities over their transfer deal to sign Neymar.

De la Mata has confirmed current club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, will face a trial for alleged tax crimes suggesting they paid more for the player than they revealed to tax authorities.

Brazil captain Neymar was the subject of the controversial switch from Santos in 2013 in a deal that ultimately saw then-Barca president Rosell resign from his position.

The charges stem from alleged unpaid taxes from a number of fees paid to third parties, including a 40 million euro fee paid to N&N, a company owned by the player’s father.

The original fee quoted for the deal stood at around €57.1m, but later investigations suggested it was closer to €86m. Meanwhile, Barcelona released the full details of the transfer in January 2014.

Bartomeu said this month that the controversy caused by the deal would not harm his aspirations for re-election, but the latest twist will do little for his campaign, particularly with former president Joan Laporta said to be ready to return.

The prosecution have requested custodial sentences be issued, recommending Rosell receive seven years and six months and Bartomeu be handed two years and three months – adding the club should receive a fine of €11.4m.

Credit: Goal

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