Barça soccer club chief named official target in Neymar tax inquiry

Josep Maria Bartomeu summoned to testify before the High Court on February 13

Josep Bartomeu leaves the courthouse after testifying in December.
Josep Bartomeu leaves the courthouse after testifying in December.ACN

The High Court on Tuesday officially named the president of Barcelona soccer club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, as a target in an ongoing tax fraud investigation involving the signing of Brazilian forward Neymar.

Bartomeu was subpoenaed to testify on February 13 before Judge Pablo Ruz.

On Monday, the court’s public prosecutor asked the judge to investigate whether the Barça president last year illegally withheld €2.8 million in taxes relating to Neymar’s transfer to the team.

The soccer club itself and its former president Sandro Rosell are also the targets of an ongoing inquiry that centers on tax irregularities that may have been committed in 2011 and 2013 in connection with the Brazilian player’s move.

The prosecutor, José Perals, had argued that a separate investigation was necessary to keep the Rosell case from being delayed. But in a seven-page writ, Judge Ruz declined to open an offshoot inquiry against Bartomeu because there were “relevant elements of objective and subjective connection” with the case involving Rosell.

Rosell resigned as Barcelona president in January 2014 after he was officially named in the inquiry into alleged embezzlement. Bartomeu, then vice president, took over. His term is due to run out in 2016.


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