Spain’s High Court has confirmed that FC Barcelona is to face prosecution in relation to charges of fraud and other financial irregularities over the signing of Brazilian international Neymar Santos da Silva Junior in 2011, according to judicial sources.
The court rejected an appeal on Friday made by the Catalan soccer team against continuing legal action against it. The court is also close to bringing a prosecution against Neymar’s mother, Nadine Gonçalvez da Silva, N&N, a company created by the player’s mother and father, and also against Santos F.C., Neymar’s side before signing for Barcelona.
The court has yet to decide on appeals presented by Neymar himself
The court has yet to decide on appeals presented by Neymar and Josep María Bartomeu, the president of FC Barcelona.
The case stems from a complaint made by the DIS investment fund in June 2015, which owned 40% of the player’s federative rights when he played for Santos. DIS said it had lost money over the €40 million contract Neymar signed with Barcelona to secure his contract before he became a free agent.
State prosecutors at the High Court say that in 2011, the then president of Barcelona, Sandro Rosell, agreed with Neymar and his father to pay €40 million for the player to sign for the side when he became a free agent in 2014.
“This prevented other clubs from participating freely in the market for the acquisition to the federative rights of the player,” says the High Court.
Furthermore, the player had a €40 million penalty clause if he signed for another side and would have to return another €10 million that Barcelona had handed over on the basis of a “loan” to guarantee his signing.
A court has already found Barça guilty of failing to pay taxes on the signing of Neymar
State prosecutors say this agreement “altered the free market of soccer player signings, damaging Santos, which did not know about the agreement, as well as the DIS investment fund, which held a percentage of the economic rights from federative rights.”
A second offense, that of fraud, relates to the alleged falsification of the amount of money paid for Neymar’s transfer from Santos to Barcelona. The figure of €17.1 million was declared officially, but the transfer actually cost at least €25 million. DIS was entitled to 40% of the figure, and was thus swindled out of €3.16 million.
A Barcelona provincial court has already found FC Barcelona guilty of failing to pay taxes on the signing of Neymar. The side has agreed to 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.
English version by Nick Lyne.