Neymar insists ‘nothing illegal’ in Barcelona contract
Neymar joined in deal said by club to have cost €57.1 million
FC Barcelona’s Brazilian striker Neymar da Silva sits on the bench during the Spanish Liga’s Primera Division match between Barcelona and Elche at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, Catalonia. Photograph: Alejandro Garcia/EPA
Neymar has insisted there is “nothing illegal” in the contract that saw him join Barcelona in the summer despite Spain’s public prosecutor asking the courts to investigate a possible case of “simulated contracts”.
Neymar joined in a deal that Barcelona said cost €57.1 million, €17.1 million of which went to his former club Santos, but those figures and the destination of the money have been challenged by a Barcelona member who made a legal complaint.
The public prosecutor has requested that the courts consider his case.
Jordi Cases wrote to the courts claiming the true beneficiaries of the €40 million paid to a company owned by Neymar’s father are unknown, and the public prosecutor has also expressed doubts about the exact amount received by Santos.
Barcelona’s president, Sandro Rosell, has been open about the total figures involved but insisted that confidentiality clauses applied to some aspects of the deal.
Cases insists that his complaint is against the club’s president rather than the club itself and has reiterated he is not accusing Rosell of benefiting personally from the deal. As a result of the complaint, Barcelona were obliged to hand all relevant documents to the court, after which the public prosecutor’s report determined that there were sufficient grounds for the case to be taken on.
Now Felipe Izquierdo, the lawyer representing Cases, has sent a further letter to the court outlining an additional €10 million payment, the justification for which he has described as quimericos or fanciful.
Barcelona have expressed their “energetic indignation” at the fact that the case is set to proceed, calling the operation “complex” but “impeccable” - an act of “business engineering”.
According to Barcelona’s published accounts, which they handed to the courts, the club paid €57.1 million for Neymar: €17.1 million to Santos and €40 million to a company called N&N, owned by Neymar’s father. Barcelona also paid €7.9 million to secure the future rights of three Santos players and €9 million for two friendlies between the two clubs.
The €17.1 million was paid to Santos to secure Neymar last summer. His contract at Santos was due to run out in 2014.
Barcelona had made a first payment of €10 million to N&N in advance, effectively as a deposit to guarantee the completion of a €40 million move, with the amount paid defined as an interest-free loan. The €10 million appears in Barcelona’s accounts in 2012, not in 2013.
The €40 million paid to N&N was described as a “penalty clause” and applicable in order to complete the transfer this summer. Should Neymar have wanted to break the agreement, he would have been liable to pay that fee to Barcelona. Any club that sought to hijack the deal, as Real Madrid did, would also be confronted with that extra €40 million fee.
The public prosecutor’s report concluded that there are grounds to suspect that the contract signed between the club and the player may be “simulated”, with the details and descriptions of payments failing to accurately reflect what they were. – (Guardian Service)