A Brazilian court has accused international football star, Neymar, of evading millions of dollars in taxes. Now the Barcelona forward could face fines worth even more than that.
The judge accused the 23-year-old of tax evasion on Friday, freezing R$188.8m ($47m, €42m) of his assets. The Sao Paulo-born star forward, now with FC Barcelona in Spain, is suspected of evading taxes worth R$63.6m.
Carlos Muta, the Brazilian judge who made the ruling, said he had frozen three times the amount Neymar has been accused of not paying, in order to cover potential interest and fines, according to a document released by the court.
The alleged evasion dates back to the period between 2011 and 2013, before Neymar’s move to last year’s Champions League winners, when he starred for top-flight Brazilian club Santos.
The player will still have access to his bank accounts and liquid assets, but will not be able to sell any of his assets before the case comes to a close. Because the fines amount to more than 30% of Neymar’s total declared assets – about R$244m ($61m, €54.5m) – Brazilian authorities also froze assets belonging to his family.
Prosecutors allege that the player purposefully omitted sources of income from abroad, including FC Barcelona.
This is not the first time Neymar has been embroiled in a tax-related scandal. In 2014, Barcelona’s Sandro Rosell resigned as president of the club following allegations that he had failed to report the full cost of Neymar’s transfer to the Spanish club from Santos. Afterward, FC Barcelona paid Spanish tax authorities a total of €13.5m.
blc/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)