Spanish High Court Looking To Charge Barcelona For Tax Evasion In Neymar Signing
Spain's High Court is "seeking to charge" Barcelona as a legal entity for "alleged tax fraud in the signing of Neymar," according to the EFE. Prosecutors believe that the transaction "was carried out through the issuing of false invoices, leading tax authorities to suspect that the transfer fee presented by the club does not correspond to the actual fee paid." The Public Prosecutor is claiming that the club has defrauded the tax office of €9.18M ($12.63M) -- contributions which "should have been made in accordance with transfer payments" of €10M in '11 and €27.9M in '13. High Court Judge José Perals argued that Barcelona should have paid 24.7% of the €37.1M transfer fee -- "the income tax rate for non-Spanish residents" (EFE, 2/19). In Madrid, Sergio Fernández wrote "this means that proceedings initially targeting only" Barça's former President Sandro Rosell "are now engulfing the entire club." The two charges involved -- "tax fraud and embezzlement through diversion of funds -- could see hefty fines levied" at the club (MARCA, 2/19).
BARCELONA'S RESPONSE: Barcelona said in a statement, "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. Represented by its lawyers, the Club will appear at the Jutjat Central d’Instrucció number 5 within the next few days in order to defend its interests and rights. 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" (Barcelona).