Two-year sentence sought for Barcelona president in Neymar affair

Two-year sentence sought for Barcelona president in Neymar affair

Kenny Awotorebo

Spanish prosecutors are requesting a prison sentence of two years and three months for Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and seven for his predecessor, Sanrdo Rosell, over the so-called Neymar affair, judicial sources said on Monday.

The Madrid court is also calling for a fine of 22.2 million euros ($24.1 million) against the club over the transfer deal which has been the subject of an anti-corruption probe.

The two men and the club are charged with tax fraud and Rosell is also accused of accounting irregularities over his time in charge.

Following months of investigation, a Spanish judge must now consider whether the case should go to trial.

The judge, Pablo Ruz, said 10 days ago after completing his investigation that the two defendants were suspected of three counts of tax fraud worth a total of 13 million euros ($13.6 million), relating to the signing of the Brazilian striker in 2013.

The club has said it paid 57 million euros overall to sign Neymar from Brazilian club Santos, but the judge suspects the real amount was more than 83 million euros.

But Ruz said the various contracts produced “were designed to cover or hide the fact that in reality they represented a higher cost for Barcelona” in order to “avoid or significantly reduce the money paid to the tax authorities”.

Bartomeu denied all responsibility when he appeared before an examining magistrate investigating the matter last month.

Happenings Media