Barcelona Agree to Pay Fine for Neymar Transfer Tax Fraud

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2016

Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar (L) scores past Sevilla's goalkeeper Sergio Rico Gonzalez during the Spanish 'Copa del Rey' (King's Cup) final match FC Barcelona vs Sevilla FC at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 22, 2016. / AFP / JOSEP LAGO        (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

Barcelona have agreed to settle the ongoing tax fraud case over their purchase of Neymar from Santos in 2013 by paying the Spanish authorities €5.5 million (£4.4 million). 

A Barcelona statement confirmed that the Catalan club's board had agreed to the settlement, via Sky Sports's Allan Valente:

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.

In addition, the club has been exonerated from responsibility for the fiscal year 2014, which was also part of the proceedings.

The club were accused of avoiding having to pay excess tax on Neymar's transfer fee by withholding its true amount.

Valente's report added that the move now absolves "both current president Josep Bartomeu and former president Sandro Rosell of wrongdoing with regard to the transfer."

The transfer fee Barcelona paid Santos for Neymar was initially reported to be €57 million (£48.6 million), but it was eventually revealed the deal had cost the Blaugrana €86.2 million (£71.5 million), per Sky Sports.

A Brazilian investment fund, DIS, claimed the company received far less than it was entitled for its 40 per cent share of Neymar's rights due to Barcelona concealing the overall value of the deal, per Valente.

Neymar himself, now 24, could face fraud and corruption charges after Spanish prosecutors recently urged that the Brazilian star face trial over his transfer to Barca as a 21-year-old, per AFP and Sky Sports News HQ:

The forward has made good on the potential Barcelona saw in him when they went all out to sign him, and he has formed a deadly attack trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

However, questions will remain over the legality of his transfer despite Barca agreeing to pay a settlement.

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