New Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says the club are considering taking legal action against whoever first leaked the details of Neymar’s transfer and contract into the public domain.
The deal that brought the Brazilian attacker to the Camp Nou last summer is now the subject of a court investigation in Madrid into possible “diversion” of money, with Sandro Rosell resigning as Barca chief in the wake of the complaint.
Rosell and other Barca figures had long maintained that Neymar had cost just 57 million euros, while a confidentiality agreement with Neymar Sr. precluded them from revealing any further details.
In recent weeks, though, El Mundo and other media outlets in Madrid and Barcelona attained both court documents and details of the player’s contract, leading Bartomeu and director Raul Sanllehi to announce that a total of 86.2 million euros had been paid to the player’s father and his former club Santos in a variety of different ways.
Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo that he had instructed Barca’s lawyers to see if they should take a case against those responsible for publicising previously private details.
“About the leaks to the press of Neymar’s contract, we already have certain evidence that it did not come from here but from Madrid,” he said. “I have told our lawyers to follow the subject, and if there is anything, to lodge a complaint. We will get to the bottom of it, whether it is a person, a group, a legal practice or a media publication that has published false figures.”
El Mundo said on Tuesday that its sources inside the court said the Spanish tax authorities could view the extras that went to the agency run by Neymar Sr. as salary, and demand the appropriate income tax, which -- the report claims -- could cost Barca a total of 63 million euros.
The newspaper reports that the total owed could rise further should previous third-party investors DIS and Teisa win cases against Barca and Santos in a Brazilian court.
Bartomeu is said to have told Cases during a phone call that if he stepped away now the club would not pursue him for any damages in future, but board spokesperson Toni Freixa apparently withdrew that offer later on for reasons that remain unclear.
Cases told a news conference on Monday that he had wanted written assurances from the club before he instructed his lawyer to tell the Madrid court he was taking back his initial charge.
“My intention was to withdraw the complaint,” Cases said in quotes reported by AS. “I have a very cordial, friendly relationship with the gentleman running Barcelona. For the good of the club, to lower the tension, they said it would be necessary for me to withdraw the complaint. But without anything in writing, I cannot do that.”
Asked if he thought his complaint had forced the resignation of Rosell -- who, Sport reports, plans to move to London with his family in search of new professional challenges -- Cases said he felt there was still more information about the whole case to come out.
“There must be something more,” Cases said. “You do not resign just for this.”