UK & World News

  • 21 February 2014, 1:50

Barcelona Charged With Tax Fraud Over Neymar

Barcelona have been charged with tax fraud over their transfer of Brazilian forward Neymar.

A Spanish court is bringing proceedings against the current La Liga champions amid claims they failed to pay ?9.1m (£7.4m) in tax.

Neymar arrived at the Nou Camp in June 2013 for a fee of ?57m (£47m).

Barcelona have denied the charges but Judge Pablo Ruz says there is "sufficient evidence to investigate a possible crime against the public treasury".

The case centres on whether Neymar, who is set to star for his country in this summer's World Cup, was a Spanish or a Brazilian taxpayer at the time of the alleged offence.

Neymar's move to Spain has been marred by controversy since it emerged that ?40m (£33m) of the transfer fee went to a firm operated by his father - a revelation that led to the resignation of Barcelona president Sandro Rosell.

Neymar took to Instagram to vent his frustration at the situation.

"I'm tired of this ****," he wrote. "I'm a fan of my father and I'll always be grateful (to him) for having taken me to where I am today.

"If he made millions over that, what's the problem? It worked. The money was not expected to just fall from the sky."

Barcelona have now been asked to hand over their tax returns for 2011 to 2013.

In a statement, the club said: "Our dealings with respect to this operation were at all times in line with the relevant legal legislation."

Neymar Sr, who also denies any wrongdoing, has likewise been asked to present documentation.

It comes after public prosecutor Jose Perals issued proceedings against Barcelona over alleged fabrication of contracts and the use of "financial engineering" to defraud the Spanish treasury.

Neymar has 12 goals in 28 appearances since his move to Barcelona, who are top of the Spanish league and on the verge of the Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-0 win over Manchester City this week.

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