SPORT

Barça takes blame over Neymar case

Club agrees to pay €5 million to make up for tax fraud over player’s transfer, and execs get prison charges lifted

Neymar outside the High Court.
Neymar outside the High Court.Kiko Huesca / EFE

The executive committee of Barcelona soccer club will meet at 2pm on Friday to ratify a deal between club lawyers and state prosecutors over the Neymar case.

Under the terms of the agreement, Barça would pay around €5 million for tax fraud in 2011 and 2013, when the club failed to pay more than €9 million in taxes by not declaring all the contracts involved in Neymar’s transfer from Santos.

Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, the club’s current and former chairmen, would be acquitted of all charges after prosecutors had asked for prison terms of two to three months for the former and over seven years for the latter.

Club sources said they also hope that the settlement will help resolve a second claim brought by DIS (Deportes e Organizaçao de Eventos), the company that held 40% of Neymar’s rights before the transfer from Santos to Barça. It was DIS that brought the original fraud lawsuit against Barça.

But the deal has already triggered criticism by those who feel that the club should not have to pay for the bad management of two individuals who themselves acted against former chairman Joan Laporta in 2010.

The Neymar case was one of the scandals that triggered Rosell’s departure from the club, especially after the price of the transfer escalated to nearly €100 million.

English version by Susana Urra.

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