The off-the-field problems of Barcelona star Neymar took a turn for the worst on Tuesday when Brazilian authorities charged him with tax evasion and falsifying documents over a seven-year period.
The federal prosecutor’s office alleged that the striker committed the crimes between 2006, when he was just a promising youngster at Brazilian football club Santos, and 2013, when he signed for Barcelona.
Prosecutors also brought charges against his father and two senior FC Barcelona management figures, its current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell.
The Brazilian prosecution’s statement said:
“They forged a series of documents between 2006 and 2013 with the intention of reducing the taxes owed to the inland revenue in Brazil. Neymar’s conduct, along with the others accused, caused millions in losses to the public coffers.”
The allegations refer to image rights contracts from 2006 when Neymar, then a teenager, was playing for Santos. Prosecutors allege further fraud occurred during negotiations to take him to Barcelona in 2011. He eventually moved to the Camp Nou in 2013.
Prosecutors said the schemes involved three companies linked to the striker’s family – Neymar Sport e Marketing, N&N Consultoria Esportiva e Empresarial and N&N Administração de Bens, Participações e Investimentos.
The prosecution has accused Neymar’s father of designing schemes with the Catalan club as they negotiated his son’s transfer.
“Between 2006 and 2013, the player’s father was the principal mentor and mastermind of a series of contractual frauds involving Neymar’s image rights, mainly through Neymar Sport e Marketing,” the statement said.
Neymar signed several contracts with Santos and Barcelona to carry out publicity work but the money was paid into his father’s accounts in order to reduce their tax burden, prosecutors allege. They also said he provided false information on some contracts.
Earlier on Tuesday, both Neymar and his father – following on from Rosell and Bartomeu – appeared in front of a Spanish judge to give evidence about the alleged irregularities surrounding his transfer to Spain.
Rosell resigned as Barcelona chairman to defend himself against accusations that he and the club swindled Spanish tax authorities out of €13m.
A São Paulo judge also ruled last week that Neymar and his father must pay nearly 460,000 reais (£80,000) to Brazil’s inland revenue in taxes owed from 2007 and 2008.