Recently, the 40th president of FC Barcelona Josep Maria Bartomeu I Fioreta who is an incumbent, and his predecessor Sandro Rosell were called into a trial against Spain’s prosecutor for alleged tax evasion, including in the signing of Brazilian star, Neymar. From 2010 to 2014 Bartomeu was the vice president on the club board with Rosell as the president after they won the vote among the members of the club. Then Bartomeu assumed the office of Barcelona since 2014 following the resignation of Rosell. The resignation is due to the admissibility Judge Pablo Ruz by the complaint concerning this “Neymar case”.
Bartomeu and Rosell are charged with tax fraud, while Sandro Rosell also accused of accounting irregularities over his time in charge as the president of Barcelona. Spain prosecutor claimed that it should be two years for Bartomeu and over seven years for Rosell for the jail terms, as well as the fines terms. The club is called to be fined €22,202,750 or $24 million for allegedly false accounting in the tax returns of 2011, 2013, 2014.
Pablo Ruz, the investigating judge of the case named those two men both in tax fraud and fraudulent administration in the process of signing of the Brazil striker in 2013. He also alleging the club and its management for concealment of the real cost of the signing. Three counts of tax fraud relating to the signing of the player worth a total of 13 million euros or ($13.6 million). The judge said that Neymar cost at least €83.3 million, while the club say they paid the player €57 million. This number also lower Barcelona’s tax burden, and the Spanish state lost out on several million worth of taxes as the result. On the other hand, the charges against Bartomeu reportedly relate to “personal income tax” of the Brazilian star.
“Various contracts produced were designed to cover the fact that actually they represented a higher cost for Barcelona in order to avoid or significantly reduce the money paid to the tax authorities,” said Ruz. The alleged web of contracts included seven that were signed between Barcelona and companies owned by Neymar’s father and agent.
The allegations toward Bartomeu and Rosell more or less give negative influence to the life of the club. There have been many reports linking Lionel Messi to a potential move away from the club. The president of Barcelona strongly denied all responsibility when he appeared before an examining magistrate last month.