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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

FC Barcelona are to stand trial over the controversial signing of Neymar

There could be custodial sentences and a heavy fine.

Barcelona striker Neymar.
Barcelona striker Neymar.

BARCELONA WILL STAND trial over claims the club attempted to mislead tax authorities over the signing of Neymar.

The Brazil captain was officially signed for €57.1million from Santos in May 2013, but it was later claimed that the transfer’s total cost was around €95.1m — the vast majority of which was said to be tied up in bonus payments and agency fees paid to the player’s father.

The Camp Nou outfit have faced a legal battle for more than a year after a club member asked for full details of the striker’s signing to be published, which revealed an apparent misappropriation of funds.

Judge Pablo Ruz stated in March that he had finished his investigation into the matter and that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor Sandro Rosell and the club itself would all stand trial.

The pair may face custodial sentences for tax crimes, while the club could be handed a heavy fine. According to Spanish news agency Efe, the club could face a fine of more than €22m if found guilty.

Jose de la Mata, who has since taken over from Ruz in heading up the case, today gave the defendants 10 days to submit statements. Barcelona have previously denied any wrongdoing, while no date has yet been set for the trial.

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