Barcelona charged with tax fraud over Neymar deal | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.02.2014
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Barcelona charged with tax fraud over Neymar deal

The Catalans have been charged with tax fraud in the 86.2 million euro summer deal which took Neymar from Santos to the Camp Nou. The scandal that has rocked the club and has led to president Sandro Rossell resigning.

Barcelona have been charged by a Spanish court with committing tax fraud in the signing of Brazil forward Neymar last year. The high-profile move to the Catalan capital from Brazil in the summer transfer window was initially shrouded in mystery and it was unclear what exactly was paid to whom and when.

"Judge Pablo Ruz has charged FC Barcelona with an infringement against the tax authority relating to the purchase of the Brazilian player (Neymar)," a spokesman for the Madrid court hearing the case said on Thursday.

The judge had requested Barcelona's tax records from 2011 to 2013 relating to the and had asked the tax authority to calculate the scale of the alleged fraud.

The transfer has already cost club president Sandro Rosell his job. He stepped down last month following an allegation of misappropriation of funds made by a club member.

Barcelona admitted after Rosell's resignation that Neymar had cost 86.2 million euros ($118.6 million), including payments to the player and his family, and not 57.1 million euros as they originally said. Some 40 million euros of the transfer fee reportedly went to a firm operated by Neymar's father.

Neymar's father has been asked to hand over documents and contracts from companies linked to the deal.

Barcelona deny charges

Barcelona denied wrongdoing after local media reported on Wednesday that Spain's public prosecutor had asked the judge to lay charges.

"The club's actions have, at all times, regarding that operation [to sign Neymar] and in line with the available information, been fully compliant with existing law," the club said in a statement.

The Spanish champions added they would be sending legal representatives to court "in the coming days" to defend their rights and interests.

"At the same time [Barcelona] states its complete availability to collaborate with the justice authorities in this process, as it has been doing from the first moment, or in any other that might require its intervention."

In a short attack on former club presidents on his official Instagram page, Neymar protested his father's innocence.

"I am sick and tired of this ... I've had enough of all this talk," he wrote. "I am a fan of my dad for having put me where I am, and if he makes millions from that, what's the big deal? He worked for it, it didn't just fall in his lap."

rd/dr (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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