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Barca offer support to jailed Catalan separatists


Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu confirms Neymar tax settlement

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that the club have reached a settlement regarding the tax transfer saga stemming from Brazilian forward Neymar's move to the Blaugrana from Santos.

Spanish news agency Efe reported last week that Barca had struck an accord to be exonerated of any wrongdoing in the deal by paying a €5.5 million fine.

On Monday, Barcelona's board voted 14-2, with two abstentions, to formally approve the pact that will also absolve current president Bartomeu and former president Sandro Rosell of any misdeeds.

"Each party has to pay his money. The club, Rosell and I. But if someone doesn't have the funds, the club will pay," Bartomeu said.

The court had been looking into a complaint made by a Brazilian investment group which claims it was financially harmed when Barcelona and Neymar allegedly withheld the real amount of the player's transfer fee from Santos in 2013.

Neymar moved to Barcelona from Santos in the summer of 2013.

The complicated deal which took the Brazil captain to the Camp Nou has been the subject of multiple court investigations in both Brazil and Spain, with the full details of the deal still unclear.

Investment group DIS was entitled to 40 percent of Neymar's transfer from the Sao Paulo club, but claims it received a smaller compensation than it should have because part of the transfer fee was concealed.

Bartomeu added that if he had to sign Neymar again, he would "do it exactly the same way," although "maybe we would have changed one of the advisers."

He said that "the decision wasn't easy but it was the best thing for the club. In that sense, we were faced with the alternative of accepting the court's settlement or continuing with the tax case. This was the best option for Barcelona. It was opportune and useful and that is why we opted to accept this settlement offer."

Bartomeu claimed the case was too high profile and the best alternative was to end it.

"The uncertainty was the worst part for us. We had been in the process a long time and the way these laws are interpreted, well that always generates doubts. The prosecution interpreted that the €40 million that was paid to Neymar's father was salary and not a transfer fee. But going forward, now we know how the game is played. There is still one more court case, that of DIS, the company who had the image rights. The legal counsel of our club is looking into it."

Bartomeu continued that the settlement of this tax case, even though one case still remains, should help pave the way to re-sign the Brazilian captain: "We already spoke with Neymar's dad and we want the player to remain at Barcelona and renew his contract. Solving this case will help with the other case," although Bartomeu admitted that "the case has nothing to do with the contract renewal."

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