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Neymar Investigated for Separate Tax Fraud Allegations in Brazil

Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) arrives to Spain's national court in Madrid on February 2, 2016. Barcelona star Neymar is called to give evidence this week a murky case over the deal which brought the Brazilian to the Catalan giants from Santos in 2013. / AFP / CURTO DE LA TORRE        (Photo credit should read CURTO DE LA TORRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 2, 2016

FC Barcelona star striker Neymar is potentially facing charges on four separate counts of tax fraud dating back as far as 2006—well before his transfer to the Camp Nou.

The BBC's Tim Vickery reported on the matter Tuesday, indicating prosecutors in Brazil have begun investigating the allegations.  

In addition to those charges, the 23-year-old was in court Tuesday as part of an ongoing issue regarding his move to Barca from Santos back in 2013.

Per Vickery, investigators in Brazil say Barcelona reported Neymar's transfer fee to be €57 million when it was instead approximately €83 million.

Because Barcelona allegedly withheld the true value of Neymar's transfer, the investment company DIS claimed the move hurt its financial standing, according to Goal's Joe Wright. DIS owned 40 percent of Neymar's sports rights, according to the BBC report.

Rob Harris of the Associated Press reported back in September that Brazilian authorities had frozen $50 million of Neymar's assets when allegations of tax evasion involving him initially surfaced.

Although Neymar has thrived on the pitch with his new club over the past few years and has represented Brazil in the World Cup, his legal battles outside of the stadium have to be wearing on him.

One of the young forward's teammates, Lionel Messi, has also dealt with tax fraud allegations and stood trial for them this past year. It's prompted Messi to consider leaving Barcelona for another club, and the same is true for Neymar because of his tumultuous financial situation.

At this juncture, the tax fraud case for Neymar is in its early stages—he's not even a formal defendant at the moment. A judge still has to hear the prosecutors' argument and then decide whether a viable case can be presented.

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