It is never a good sign when the tax authorities get involved in a business transaction, and that is the case in Spain where Spain’s tax authorities was launching a case claiming a ‘fraud’ of 9.1 million euros in the complicated 86.2 million euro transfer of Neymar to the club last summer.
Barcelona have been charged by a Spanish court with committing tax fraud in the signing of Brazil forward Neymar last year, a court spokesman said on Thursday.
“Judge Pablo Ruz has charged FC Barcelona with an infringement against the tax authority relating to the purchase of the Brazilian player,” the spokesman said.
The issue are two payments totalling 37.9 million euros made in 2011 and 2013 to a Brazilian company controlled by Neymar’s father, which the tax authorities view as income taxable in Spain.
Barca have released a statement maintaining all aspects of the transfer had been above-board and saying the club was happy to work with the authorities to demonstrate this.
“In light of reports concerning the transfer process carried out to bring Neymar da Silva Santos Junior to the Club, FC Barcelona would like to state,” the statement began. “1 – The Club’s dealings with respect to this operation, and in light of all information available, was at all times in line with the relevant legal legislation.
“2 – Represented by its lawyers, the Club will appear at the Jutjat Central d’Instruccio number 5 within the next few days in order to defend its interests and rights.
“3 – We express our total willingness to collaborate with the Justice authorities in this matter, as we have done since the first moment the issue arose and in any other area in which our presence may be required.”
The Neymar transfer is also causing waves in Brazil where the division of the total monies paid continues to be a hugely controversial issue, as Santos and the ‘third-party investors’ who previously held a share of the starlet’s ‘economic rights’ feel they are owed a much bigger share.
The issue is that Barcelona paid Santos a relatively low amount for Neymar, but paid over 40 million euros to Neymar and his father as a signing bonus. Santos, and third-party investor DIS did not receive a percentage on those funds and they want there share of the deal. So now there is a court case in Spain and a court case in Brazil over the transfer, which are both slowly tarnishing the name and good will that Barcelona had built up worldwide. The team that for so long refused sponsorship on its shirts and instead has the UNICEF logo, obviously used some ‘financial engineering’ to sign Neymar.