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Jan 20, 2014

Barca 'may have paid €95m for Neymar'

Barcelona may have paid 95 million euros to sign Neymar last summer rather than the 57 million they said they did, leaked court documents seen by El Mundo are reported to reveal.

Neymar
Barca have dismissed the El Mundo report on Neymar as false.

The Madrid-based newspaper reported that the leaked papers detail three different payments of millions of euros to the Neymar family between 2011 and 2013.

It said some direct payments to the Brazil international’s father are listed as "to scout young talent at [Neymar’s former club] Santos" and "to help children in the favelas of Sao Paulo."

El Mundo reported that the full breakdown of the 95 million euros includes 40 million euros to the Neymar family, 17 million to Santos, 7.9 million for rights to three further young Santos players, nine million euros for two friendly games between the clubs, 8.5 million euros in commission to Neymar senior, 2.6 million euros in other agents' fees and a signing-on bonus of 10 million euros.

If Barca did pay 38 million euros more than they had stated, Neymar would be the world’s most expensive player ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who cost 94 million euros, and Gareth Bale (who Madrid have said cost 91 million euros, despite the general consensus being that the fee was a record 100 million euros).

On Monday, Barcelona sources told Mundo Deportivo that the El Mundo story was false. Barca have previously said the investigation into the Neymar deal is "unjustified" and "strange" and that they remained "calm" about it, insisting the move had been had been complex but skilfully negotiated.

Last week, Neymar said there was "nothing illegal" about the deal, which had been handled on his behalf by his father.

Audiencia Nacional judge Pablo Ruz has reportedly asked for copies of documents from Santos and FIFA as he investigates a complaint by Barca socio Jordi Cases that club president Sandro Rosell and his fellow board members had not told club members the full truth about the deal.

Barca may not be legally obliged to disclose all their business dealings to members and could claim that items such as the friendlies or options on other Santos players were independent agreements and nothing to do with the transfer.

Spanish and Brazilian tax authorities and other observers, including third-party investors who previously held a stake in Neymar's rights, are likely to be following developments closely.

El Mundo also broke the news of an investigation into allegations that the 'Leo Messi & Friends' exhibition games played in Colombia and elsewhere last summer were possibly used to launder drug money. That investigation remains ongoing.

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