Barcelona have settled with the Spanish tax authorities and will pay the inland revenue £11.2m (13.5m euros) after being charged with tax fraud over the signing of Neymar.
Despite making the payment Barca still claim they are innocent of tax evasion and insist that they had not committed any offence.
“The aim is to cover eventual interpretations that could be given to the contracts drawn up in the operation to sign Neymar,” a club statement read.
Barca paid £48.6m for Santos striker Neymar, 22, in the summer with his parents receiving £34m of the fee. The transfer has already forced the resignation of Last Barcelona President Sandro Rosell.
When a judge ruled last week that there was sufficient evidence against Barcelona to continue investigations into the transfer for financial irregularities, it was only a matter of time before the Spanish giants settled with the government because this is not a battle they could win either in the courtroom or in the court of public opinion.
Remarkably in a late press conference on Monday, Barcelona’s board were almost belligerent in their comments stating that:
“FC Barcelona worked legally in the signing of Neymar. We’ve always been advised by the best lawyers. We have always complied with our fiscal commitments and our debt is zero. We don’t owe taxes,”
“The fiscal operation is also legitimate. There is no business simulation. But our advisors noted that the Tax Agency is very aggressive when it comes to business simulation,”
“National Court accepted the complaint against Barça for tax fraud without first consulting with the Tax Agency.”
And to top it off, President Bartomeu said that
“if Club member Jordi Cases hadn’t brought the suit against Barça, this would not have happened.”
So its Cases fault and not Barcelona’s. Unbelievable!