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Barcelona charged with tax fraud over Neymar signing

Feb 20, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

Manchester City v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Getty Images

A Spanish court has charged Barcelona with tax fraud in the signing of Brazilian forward Neymar last year. 

“Judge Pablo Ruz has charged FC Barcelona with an infringement against the tax authority relating to the purchase of the Brazilian player,” a court spokesman said.

The club denied wrongdoing after local media reported on Wednesday after Spain’s public prosecutor had asked the judge to lay fraud charges against the club.

Bloomberg have cited a document filed in Madrid’s National Court saying that the Catalan club paid Neymar $13.7m (€10m) in 2011 and $38.4m (€28m) in 2013 as incentives to leave his previous club, Santos.

The prosecutor who filed the document calling for the investigation also claimed that Barcelona performed “financial engineering” by drawing up nine contracts as parts of the transfer.

Barcelona have released the following statement:

1) The Club’s dealings with respect to this operation, and in light of all information available, was at all times in line with the relevant legal legislation

2) Represented by its lawyers, the Club will appear at the Jutjat Central d’Instrucció number 5 within the next few days in order to defend its interests and rights.

3) We express our total willingness to collaborate with the Justice authorities in this matter, as we have done since the first moment the issue arose and in any other area in which our presence may be required.

Barcelona announced in January that Neymar’s transfer cost $118m (€86.2m), nearly $41m (€29.9m) more than what was originally quoted as the fee. The announcement was made by Josep Bartomeu, acting as club president in the place of Sandro Rosell, who resigned after the scandal broke claiming he wanted to protect the club’s image and alleging he and his family had been threatened.

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