FC BARCELONA CHARGED IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS CONNECTED TO THE SIGNING OF A BRAZILIAN FOOTBALLER   

The Spanish National Court, the Audiencia Nacional, has opened criminal proceedings against Fútbol Club Barcelona and its former president Sandro Rosell for a potential criminal offence committed in relation to the signing of Brazilian striker, Neymar.

The criminal proceedings were opened as a result of complaint filed by a member of FC Barcelona. The complaint points out that the former FC Barcelona president may have committed criminal misappropriation; it claims that the amount stated in the agreement signed between FC Barcelona and Santos Futbol Club (Neymar's previous club) did not reflect the amount actually paid in the transaction. FC Barcelona paid €57.1 million (€17.1 million to Santos Futbol Club and €40 million to a company called N&N – linked to Neymar's father). However, it has emerged that other amounts may also have been paid in connection with Neymar's signing. According to the complaint, the purpose of the €40 million paid to N&N is as yet unknown.

The Spanish public prosecutor believes that criminal misappropriation could have been committed in the transaction and that FC Barcelona could have committed a tax crime. Accordingly, and following the petition by the Spanish public prosecutor, the Court has decided to bring charges against a legal representative of FC Barcelona for tax crimes. Following the latest reforms to the Spanish Criminal Code, a legal entity may be held criminally liable for certain criminal offences (including tax crimes).