Europe

Barcelona's Neymar and Bartomeu face fraud inquiry

Neymar training in Santiago, Chile (17 June) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Neymar is due to play in Brazil's Copa America tie against Colombia

A Spanish court has agreed to allow a fraud case against Barcelona's Brazilian star Neymar, weeks after the club itself was ordered to stand trial.

He was signed by Barcelona in 2013 for a reported €57m ($65m; £41m) and helped the club to success in this season's Champions League and La Liga.

But the courts believe the real price paid by Barcelona was far higher.

A Brazilian investment firm which owned 40% of his transfer rights argues it was defrauded out of millions of euros.

Barcelona's president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, as well as Neymar's father and his former club Santos have been named in the complaint by the company, DIS.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Neymar helped Barcelona to success in the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey this season

Investigators allege that Barcelona paid €83.3m for Neymar, but declared only €57.1m.

A judge ruled last month that the initial case, which centres on allegations that the club tried to mislead tax authorities, should be heard by a court in Barcelona rather than in the National Court in Madrid.

That case is already being challenged by the club, its president and former president.

As part of the latest investigation, the court said several European clubs had been asked for details of bids they had made for Neymar between 2009 and 2013, while he was at Santos. The clubs named included Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

The allegations surrounding Neymar's move to Barcelona prompted Sandro Rosell to resign as president in January last year.

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