Friday, September 23

Spanish court reopens Neymar fraud case

Spanish court reopens Neymar fraud case


The Spanish High Court has ordered a judge to reopen the investigation into the transfer of Barcelona forward Neymar from Santos in 2013.

The case was thrown out in July by judge Jose de la Mata due to a lack of evidence, but a group of magistrates led by Angela Murillo claim to have found evidence of fraud and corruption and have therefore decided to reopen the investigation.

Two contracts from November and December 2011 were re-examined and it is claimed that the €40 million payment made by Barca to the player to guarantee his signing infringes the "free transfer market" for footballers.

That payment meant Neymar and his father would have to pay €10m to Barca if the deal did not go ahead, something described in the latest document as "conscious simulation" and "a scam" by the High Court in Spain.

As well as Neymar and his father, former Barca president Sandro Rosell, who resigned over the controversial transfer in 2014, is also under investigation, along with the Brazilian forward's former club Santos.

Barcelona paid a fee of €17.1m to Santos for Neymar plus the €40m payment made prior to his transfer, which was later considered to be part of his wages. Nevetherless, current club chief Josep Maria Bartomeu announced when he took over from Rosell that the total package had cost the Catalan club in excess of €86m.

Unpaid taxes mean that figure has since risen to around €100m, but the low transfer fee is also being investigated because supermarket chain DIS (who were entitled to 40 per cent of the overall transfer) believe that Barca and Santos deliberately cut them out of the deal by making separate payments and thereby ensuring a low payout.

The investigation will therefore continue for Neymar, who is now in his fourth season at Barca. The 24-year-old signed a new contract in June and is tied to the Spanish champions until 2021.

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