Neymar’s infamous mega transfer from Santos to Barcelona is under serious investigation by authorities in Spain. Now former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has been made a formal suspect in the tax probe, reports AFP. In June 2013, Neymar completed his move to Barcelona for a total deal worth nearly $120 million. The buyout clause in the contract is close to $300 million.
Here’s what you need to know about this controversial deal:
1. Barcelona’s $60 Million Payment to Neymar’s Father is Under Investigation
In January 2014 it was first announced that Spanish tax officials were investigating the transfer. According to authorities, the transfer fee that was publicly announced by Barcelona bares a different figure to the one submitted to the Spanish tax service. The investigation also centers around moneys possibly paid to Neymar’s father, Neymar da Silva. That sum is said to be around $60 million.
2. The Investigation Led to the Resignation of Barca’s President in January
Around the time the investigation began, Barca’s then-president Sandro Rosell resigned. The shocking decision came just a week after it was announced that a Spanish court was hearing an enquiry related to Neymar’s transfer, reports The Guardian. On June 3, Rosell was formally named as a suspect in the tax probe. Under his four-year tenure, Barcelona won two national championships and one European Cup. The court order, according to Euro News reads that Barcelona will need to:
…quantify the amount withheld by FC Barcelona for the income payable in relation to the professional athlete Neymar Da Silva Santos for Income Tax of Non-Residents (IRNR) and (regular) income tax.
Throughout the investigation Sandro Rosell has maintained his innocence.
3. The Transfer Deal Is Said to Have Included a ‘Hooker Fueled Orgy’ in London
The Daily Star reports that the deal to sign Neymar only took place after Barcelona paid for a lavish, hooker-fueled party at a London hotel. The UK tabloid quoted former Santos exec Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro. It isn’t known if Neymar attended the party. The exec added that the transfer fee for Neymar included “coffee money” for Neymar’s father. Ribeiro said:
It also paid for an orgy in London. I don’t know why Neymar Sr should have made anything in the deal.
It was one of the most luxurious hotels, where the Queen’s had tea.
That £75m was excessive. It included hookers and a private jet.
4. The Investigation Has ‘Embarrassed’ Barcelona
Barcelona’s new President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, told the BBC back in March 2014 that the club are “embarrassed” by the allegations surrounding the transfer. He added that the team had made a voluntary tax contribution of $20 million in February 2014, something that didn’t appease investigators. Bartomeu said:
We paid because of prudence, because there is a possible different interpretation. So we want to be prudent. We don’t want to take any risks.
Barca is a very well known brand name in the world and we have to take care of Barca of the club and doing this is prudent situation to keep the good image of our club.
We don’t agree with the judge, of course. For us, this is an absurd and unfair situation because we did everything correctly in signing Neymar to FC Barcelona.
5. Barcelona Published the Details of the Account
Barcelona, under the guise of transparency, published a detailed account of the money involved in Neymar’s transfer. The team said that the excessive money paid in the deal went to Neymar’s agent and towards furthering Barca’s scouting options in Brazil. The club insisted in the release that their dealings were all above board.