Barcelona Football Club have agreed to pay a fine of €5.5m (£4.4m) to the Spanish authorities to settle the Neymar tax fraud case over the transfer of the youngster in 2013.
Barcelona had been accused of concealing part of Neymar’s transfer fee when he moved to Spain from the Brazilian club Santos, with several investigations carried out in Spain and Brazil.
The club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu had told reporters there had been “a mistake in tax planning” in connection with the transfer. A vote by Barcelona’s board approves a pact to absolve both the current president, Josep Bartomeu, and the former president Sandro Rosell of wrongdoing with regard to the transfer.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the confirmed the decision saying:
“The board … has decided to approve the agreement presented by the club’s legal services with regard to the case surrounding the signing of Neymar Jr, currently being heard in the courts of the province of Barcelona. The agreement involves the recognition by the club of an error in tax planning for the signing of the player, for the fiscal years 2011 and 2013, when they did not correctly withhold payments resulting from his incorporation.
“We have had to accept paying a €5.5m fine due to a mistake in the 2011 and 2013 tax planning in the signing of Neymar. It was better to accept this agreement than continue on with the uncertainty that has dragged on for a long time over the Neymar case.”
“In addition, the club has been exonerated from responsibility for the fiscal year 2014, which was also part of the proceedings,”
The tax probe began after a club member questioned the figures given for the Neymar deal. Barcelona initially said they paid €57.1m but later said the cost was nearer €100m. Barcelona had in 2014 made a voluntary tax payment of €13.5m in 2014 after being charged with tax fraud over the signing, but denied any wrongdoing.
The Brazilian investment fund DIS, which held 40% of Neymar’s sporting rights at Santos, said it was deprived of its full share of the transfer as Barcelona had concealed the actual value of the deal.
Neymar and his father are also being investigated over alleged tax fraud, which they have also denied. It was reported last week that Spanish prosecutors want Neymar to face charges of fraud and corruption over his transfer, alleging that the player and his father hid the true value of the transfer from Santos to Barcelona.