Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Spain says Neymar has €34 million unpaid tax debt

PSG forward tops a list of thousands of names published on the website of Spanish tax office

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar owes more unpaid tax than any other individual on a Spanish authorities' blacklist with debts of €34.6 million ($40.5 million), according to an official document published on Wednesday.

The Brazilian tops a list of thousands of names published on the website of the Spanish tax office.

The Spanish press reported last year the country's tax authorities were pursuing Neymar for fiscal fraud dating back to his time at Barcelona – the 28-year-old played for the Spanish club from 2013 to 2017 before moving to PSG for a world-record fee of €222 million – but it is the first time the information has been officially confirmed.

The Spanish tax office has not said whether Neymar's inclusion on the list was linked to his move to Camp Nou from Brazilian club Santos in 2013. But it said to appear on the list of the highest debtors the individuals had to fulfil several criteria, including missing the final deadline to pay the debt.

According to media reports Spain's fiscal authorities are investigating two of Neymar's transfers, his arrival at the Camp Nou from Santos in 2013 and his switch to the French capital four years later.

Barca initially said they paid €57.1 million to sign the forward from Brazilian side Santos before an investigation by the prosecutor's office in Madrid prompted the club to reveal the actual fee was €86.2 million with more than half of that paid to the player's parents.

Neymar signed a new contract in 2016 which triggered bonus payments but Barca refused to pay the remaining €26 million in add-ons after he left for the Parc des Princes the following summer.

In June, a Spanish court dismissed the forward's case against the club and told him to pay €6.79 million to Barca, who claimed he had violated his deal.

Neymar is by no means the only football figure to have been pursued by the Spanish treasury.

His former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi as well as ex-Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo have both agreed financial settlements after being pursued in the Spanish courts.

In January 2019, Ronaldo, now at Italian side Juventus, was handed a suspended two-year prison sentence for committing tax fraud while he was in Madrid.

The Portugal forward also agreed to pay €18.8 million in fines and back taxes to settle the case, according to legal sources.

Barcelona captain Messi agreed to pay a €2 million fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month suspended jail term.

Updated: September 30, 2020 09:33 PM

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