The once pristine reputation of FC Barcelona has taken another hit as a Spanish judge has ruled that
Barcelona’s president Bartomeu, ex-president Sandro Rosell and the club itself must stand trial ffor “crimes against public tax agency” and “dishonest” management, over the transfer of Neymar.
During the court proceedings, Rosell and Bartomeu were called before the judge after being charged, and gave evidence about the signing, alongside witnesses including Naymar’s father.
Despite Rosell and Bartomeu insisting that the deal was all above board, Judge Ruz had decided there is evidence that tax fraud was committed.
At issue is a payment of €12m paid to Neymar for signing with Barca, which should have been taxed in Spain, but that tax was never paid. Judge Ruz has also found evidence of irregularities in the signing, specifically the use of front companies which were used to create fraudulent contacts.
The whole business of the signing of Neymar, which has become the most controversial deal in all Barça’s history, has forced the resignation of Sandro Rosell and has dragged this proud club into court to stand trial for tax evasion.
It has been a miserable three months for the La Liga leaders. They have been suspended for transfer windows by FIFA for illegality signing youth players, they face criticism over their shirt sponsorship deals and now they must stand trial in court over tax evasion.
There is also the small matter of presidential elections, which are just around the corner this summer, which promise to be engrossing.