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Barca president: We have not committed tax fraud

English.news.cn   2014-02-21 19:34:32

MADRID, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu flatly denied on Friday that the club had committed tax fraud in the signing of Brazilian striker Neymar.

Bartomeu was named as Barcelona President in January after his predecessor Sandro Rosell was forced to resign over accusations of irregularities in the deals which brought Neymar to Barcelona from Brazilian club Santos last summer.

Those irregularities surfaced again when the Spanish State Prosecutor asked a judge to indict Barcelona for tax avoidance and Judge Ruz (who is incidentally the same judge who is investigating the 'Caso Barcenas' related to illegal payments to the ruling Popular Party in Spain), duly indicted the club on Thursday.

Speaking on Spanish television program 'Estudio Estadio' on Friday morning, Bartomeu defended the actions of the club, insisting the club had not broken the law.

"We are very comfortable, given that the contract is completely normal. We have all been advised: ourselves, the player (Neymar) and Santos and we have all acted in a legal manner," said Bartomeu, who added that Barcelona was "one of the few club that is up to date with our payments to the Treasury."

He said the indictment would allow the club to, "explain how the negotiation went, as well as the contracts and to show they are completely legal."

"I know we have done nothing wrong, all we have done is sign Neymar," he said, adding that perhaps the reason Barca was in the center of a press storm was that the club was doing well this season.

In his indictment on Thursday, Judge Ruz explained: "at the moment there are sufficient indications for the investigation into the possibility that a crime against the public Treasury was committed by the entity Football Club Barcelona."

Barca are accused of owing 9.1 million euros ($12.5 million US dollars) in unpaid tax and failing to declare 37.9 million euros, from the agreements to sign Neymar from Santos in opaque negotiations in which the State Prosecutor, Jose Perals said there was evidence of: "simulated contracts as well as the existence of operations of 'financial engineering' through which it was intended to fool the Public Treasury."

His report spoke of: "up to nine different contracts for different causes.... In which the payment of large amounts of money was made to societies which move in the orbit of the player, given that his representatives intervene in all of them."

Rosell resigned as Barca President, to be replaced by Bartomeu in January after stating the deal has cost a total of 57.1 million euros.

In a press conference after Rosell's resignation, the club explained that the cost of signing Neymar was actually 86.2 million euros after taking into account commissions, marketing deals, a donation to the player's foundation and Neymar's signing on bonus.

If Barca are found guilty of fraud they would have to pay the outstanding tax as well as interest payments for the late payment of that tax and a fine.

Editor: Yang Yi
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