Barcelona agree to 5.5 million euro fine over Neymar transfer
Barcelona directors have agreed to to a deal proposed by the Spanish tax authorities and will pay a 5.5 million euro fine to avoid prosecution on tax fraud charges over the signing of Brazilian player Neymar in 2013. The Barça board voted 14 in favour, two against with two absentions to the deal.
Bartomeu and Rosell avoid responsibility
Barcelona the club will accept sole responsibility, meaning former president Sandro Rosell and current president Josep Maria Bartomeu avoid the risk of prison and considerable fines for their roles in the shady deal to bring the Brazilian striker to Barça.
"Each party had to pay their own share. The club, Rosell and me, but if someone didn't have funds, the club would pay", said president Bartomeu, who also said the deal with the Spanish taxman was being agreed to in order to avoid continuing uncertainty over the case.
Bartomeu blamed the whole problem on mistakes in the "tax planning" in both 2011 and 2013.
Barcelona avoided tax in Spain on the transfer
Spanish tax authorities believe the transfer was undervalued, and payments misclassifed, allowing Barcelona to pay lower taxes in Spain on the transfer.
According to president Bartomeu: "Neither Rosell nor I did anything wrong, neither of us were involved in the tax planning. We wanted to bring a player to play for us. We're being exonerated because we're not responsible. The club is responsible. We can't blame an individual or adviser because a lot of people worked on bringing the player, but there were tax mistakes and that's the fact of the matter".
Neymar also under the spotlight
Neymar himself is being investigated in Brazil and Spain over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to Barça
Barcelona originally said the transfer figure was 57.1 million euros, with 40 million euros of that going to the Neymar's family. However the Spanish authorities believe the true transfer figure to have been at least 83 million euros.
DIS claim over the transfer
Brazilian investment fund DIS, which held 40 percent of Neymar's sporting rights when he played at Santos, claims it was cheated out of its real share of the transfer due to parallel contracts that Barcelona and Santos allegedly used to hide the full cost of the move.
Santos, where Neymar started his career, said it received 17.1 million, 6.8 million euros of which went to DIS.
But Spanish judicial authorities believe another 26 million euros from the parallel contracts were shared between Neymar, his family and Santos, with DIS and the taxman missing out on their cuts.
Barcelona has already made a voluntary 13.5 million euros tax payment in relation to the deal after being indicted for alleged tax fraud.
Bartomeu: we might change our advisors
President Bartomeu said he would sign Neymar again "in the same way, although maybe we'd change some of the advisors".