FC Barcelona will be investigated for tax fraud in connection with the deal that brought Brazilian striker Neymar to the club, Spanish National Court Judge Pablo Ruz said Thursday.
Ruz, already looking into allegations of misconduct by erstwhile club president Sandro Rosell in the Neymar transaction, named Barça as a defendant at the behest of prosecutors.
FC Barcelona defrauded the Spanish treasury of 9.1 million euros ($12.5 million), prosecutor Jose Perals said in a brief filed Wednesday.
Management used multiple parallel contracts and "financial engineering" to understate Barcelona's tax liability, the prosecutor said.
The Catalan club paid Neymar a total of 37.9 million euros in two installments, Perals said, and should have withheld 24.7 percent of that - 9.1 million euros - in non-resident taxes.
Instead, according to the prosecutor, Barcelona only withheld 24.7 percent of the 8.5 million euros the club paid Neymar in 2013.
There are now "sufficient indications for the investigation of a possible commission of an offense against the Public Treasury on the part of the entity Futbol Club Barcelona," Ruz said Thursday.
Last month, the judge agreed to investigate charges that Rosell profited personally from Barça's acquisition of Neymar for a transfer fee of 57 million euros ($78.2 million).
Rosell resigned the club presidency a day after the judge named him as a defendant. EFE