This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 24 July, 2019
Advertisement

Barcelona innocent of tax fraud, insists club president

“We took advice, ourselves, the player, Santos, and we did everything legally,” Josep Bartomeu said

FC Barcelona's then new signing Neymar gestures upon his arrival at the club's office at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. A Spanish court has charged Spanish league champion Barcelona with tax fraud of € 9.1m over the transfer of the Brazil star.
FC Barcelona's then new signing Neymar gestures upon his arrival at the club's office at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. A Spanish court has charged Spanish league champion Barcelona with tax fraud of € 9.1m over the transfer of the Brazil star.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

BARCELONA PRESIDENT Josep Bartomeu has reiterated the club’s innocence of tax fraud in the signing of Neymar and insisted the operation to bring the Brazil forward to the Catalan capital was “completely legal”.

In the latest twist to a saga that prompted Bartomeu’s predecessor, Sandro Rosell, to step down last month, a Madrid court on Thursday charged the Spanish champions with defrauding the tax authority.

The club was forced on the defensive after a member filed a complaint against Rosell alleging misappropriation of funds and when details of Neymar’s move from Santos to Barca came to light the judge overseeing the case granted the public prosecutor’s request to lay charges for tax fraud.

“We are very comfortable because the contract is completely normal,” Bartomeu said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster TVE late on Thursday.

“We took advice, ourselves, the player, Santos, and we did everything legally,” he added.

“We now intend to explain the nature of the negotiation and what the contracts are and we will show that they are completely legal. Everything that was done was done correctly. We would do the same again.”

Neymar’s high-profile move to Barcelona in the close season was initially shrouded in mystery and it was unclear what exactly was paid to whom and when.

After Rosell stepped down, Barca admitted he had cost 86.2 million euros ($118 million), including payments to the player and his family, and not 57.1 million as they originally said.

The judge has requested Barca’s tax records relating to the deal and had asked the tax authority to calculate the scale of the alleged fraud.

Local media reported the club should have paid 9.1 million euros more in tax than they did. It was unclear what punishment is likely to be handed down if Barca are deemed culpable.

Spain Soccer FC Barcelona FC Barcelona's President Josep Maria Bartomeu. Source: AP/Press Association Images

In a separate development on Thursday the court accepted a complaint by a Spanish non-governmental organisation that fights corruption called “Clean Hands”.

The complaint accuses Rosell, Bartomeu, who was closely involved in the transfer negotiations, and anotherBarca vice president, Javier Faus, as well as Neymar’s father, of misappropriation of funds and document fraud.

“Seeing as we are very relaxed it doesn’t matter if they (Clean Hands) file a complaint against us,” Bartomeu told TVE.

“We will defend ourselves from a position of strength and we will go where we have to go. This will all end up being a mere anecdote.”

Barca’s legal woes do not appear to be affecting their results on the pitch.

They secured a 2-0 win away to English Premier League side Manchester City in Tuesday’s Champions Leaguelast 16, first leg, are joint top of La Liga with Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid with 14 games left and are through to April’s King’s Cup final to face Real.

Copyright 2014 Thomson Reuters/ Click for Restrictions.

Trapattoni in talks to take over as Ivory Coast manager after World Cup – reports

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil apologises for his performance against Bayern

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Reuters

Read next:

COMMENTS (5)