First Messi, now Neymar. Spanish courts show appetite for Barca’s tax evaders


By Paul Nicholson

June 7 – Brazil and Barcelona striker Neymar faces his second prosecution this year for tax evasion. Having been convicted of tax fraud and ordered to pay €45.9 million in fines and back-taxes in March in Brazil, now Spanish prosecutors want him to go trial in their country.

The Spanish case is based on the belief that Barcelona concealed part of a deal they reckon was about €83 million but was declared by the club as being €57 million. The club said that the player’s parents, Neymar da Silva Santos and Nadine Goncalves da Silva Santos, also received €40 million and €17 million was paid to his former club, Santos.

At the centre of dispute is player investment fund, DIS, which owned 40% of Neymar’s third-party rights but claims that it only received €6.8 million of Santos’s €17 million fee. DIS argues it was entitled to a share of the full deal, wherever the money was paid to facilitate the transfer.

Neymar and his parents, along with Barcelona’s ex-President Sandro Rosell and President Josep Maria Bartomeu, have already given statements at an earlier court hearing in February. But the Spanish, presumably buoyed by their progress in the Messi case, are not being put off.

Like Lionel Messi, who is currently on trial with his father in Spain, Neymar is also accused alongside his father. The charges against Neymar are that he hid the full value of his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona in 2013.

Neymar’s defence looks like it will be similar to Lionel Messi’s, in that he trusted all the financial dealings to his father.

Speaking to Globo TV in Brazil back in February, before his conviction, Neymar said: “Before saying nonsense – that we hid this, or hid that – they should prove it.

“My father is doing everything to ensure that I can just focus on playing football. He handles the books. But in the moment when you see someone you love suffering, it starts to hurt.”

The guilty verdict against Neymar, passed by an administrative judge in Rio de Janeiro, found him guilty of tax evasion for failing to report earnings from a number of lucrative endorsement contracts.

The judge examining the case alleged that false contracts were created to avoid paying the full taxes. Last year the court had already frozen some of Neymar’s assets, a result of the allegations of tax evasion, including his private jet.

Neymar used his businesses, Neymar Sport e Marketing, N & N Consultoria and N & N Administracao de Bens, between 2012 and 2014 to misappropriate his earnings, according to court documents.

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