Europe

Barcelona FC to face tax fraud trial over Neymar transfer

Barcelona"s Neymar in match against Bayern Munich - 6 May 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Neymar was bought from the Brazilian club Santos in 2013

A Spanish judge has ordered Barcelona Football Club to stand trial over claims it tried to mislead tax authorities.

The club bought the Brazilian player Neymar in 2013 for what they said was €57m euros ($41m; $65m).

But a judge in Madrid said he believes the club knew the fee was far higher - and so more tax should have been paid.

The club's current and former presidents have 10 days to respond to the court.

Barcelona and its former president, Sandro Rosell, have previously denied wrongdoing.

The current president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, previously said that the findings were "open to interpretation" and that he would challenge them.

The club said it paid €57m for Neymar, 23, with his parents receiving €45m of the fee.

But investigators allege that the fee for Neymar's transfer from Brazilian team Santos was closer to €83m.

As a result, Barcelona has not paid about €13m in tax, say prosecutors.

The Spanish news agency, Efe, said the club could face a fine of more than €22m if found guilty.

All parties have 10 days to file papers in their defence before the court. No trial date has yet been fixed.

Barcelona need only one more victory to win the Spanish league, and reached the Champions League final after beating Bayern Munich 5-3 on aggregate on Tuesday.

Related Topics