Spain issues tax report in Neymar case
Spanish High Court judge Pablo Ruiz has called former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell to testify on June 13 after Spain tax authorities on Tuesday submitted the results of their probe in which they allege that the Catalan club did not pay 9.1 million euros in taxes for the signing of ex-Santos forward Neymar.
The report from the Spanish tax authorities confirms that the club, which was already under investigation from Madrid-based judge Pablo Ruz, did not pay some 9 million euros in taxes due after the signing of Neymar, Ruz said in a statement on Tuesday, according to AS.
Ruz also said on Tuesday that the Spanish tax authority's report is "with exceptions" that include a potential 2.6 million euro tax evasion for the 2014 tax year as well, adding that current Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu could also be called in to testify. Barca club representative Antonio Rossich has also been called in to testify.
Ruz is in the process of his probe into the complicated 86.2 million-euro deal, in which he is reviewing documentation from Barcelona, Neymar's father and FIFA relating to the transfer amid reported suspicions of the existence of different versions of the paperwork.
The prosecution petitioned Spain's High Court back in February, outlining the reasons for wanting to take a tax case against the Catalan club. "There is a whole series of contracts that show signs of simulation, as well as financial engineering operations," the writ read according to El Pais.
The prosecutor, Jose Perals, was claiming that Barca paid a total 37.9 million euros in a signing on fee (10 million euros in 2011 and 27.9 million euros in 2013) to join the club -- money which he maintained income tax of 9.1 million euros must be paid on.
Barca had previously maintained that this figure was paid as a "penalty clause" which was triggered when the Catalan club signed the player 12 months earlier than had been previously agreed. This money was -- according to the club's own website -- paid to a company controlled by Neymar's father.
Barca have admitted that they paid out a total of 86.2 million euros when signing the Brazilian player last summer, with different amounts being paid to his former club Santos and an agency controlled by his father. Some of these payments are claimed to relate to services not directly related to the transfer, including marketing, scouting and development work in Sao Paulo.
Santos and "third-party investors" who previously held a share of Neymar's "playing rights" are also unhappy with how the 86.2 million euros was divided up, with the Brazilian club having a request that FIFA hand over all its documentation relating to the case rejected by a court in Sao Paulo.
Catalan newspaper El Periodico printed a copy of a petition from Spain's Fiscalia de la Audiencia Nacional which speaks of the different payments made and the issues which the authorities have with Barca's version of events.
Rosell, who stepped down as Barcelona president in January as the controversy over the transfer intensified, new Barca chief Josep Maria Bartomeu and Neymar Sr could all be called to testify.
All of the individuals involved continue to maintain that the deal was all legally above board. In January, prior to Rosell's resignation, the Catalan club released a statement saying that the transfer was complex but not illegal.
"The complexity of the contract, which the prosecutor calls 'contract simulation', has never been in itself illegal and we believe that the prosecutor is mistaken to believe that it is," that statement said.
ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan contributed to this report.