Soccer Star Neymar Jr. Found Guilty of Tax Evasion

Barcelona Star Neymar Jr. Is Found Guilty of Tax Evasion
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Neymar Jr. is about to lose a lot of money.

The Barcelona forward was found guilty of tax fraud after not reporting earnings from several of his contracts, according to La Folha de Sao Paulo. He’s been ordered to pay 188.8 million Brazilian reals ($51.74 million U.S.) in penalty, interest and back taxes.

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Neymar became a soccer star as he played for Santos FC and stayed in his native Brazil to play for club Santos. After his 2009 debut, Neymar was reportedly paid the unclaimed income. And it only kept climbing — in 2015, Neymar became one of the world’s highest paid athletes, with a $14 million salary and $17 million in endorsements.

Neymar transferred to Barcelona in 2013, but Santos believes negotiations for his trade began in 2011. Payments for the signing were allegedly sent to a Brazilian company controlled by Neymar’s father to avoid tax reporting. Santos also received payments. Neymar and his father claimed no wrongdoing in court, but Santos wasn’t convinced. Last year in Brazil, Judge Carlos Muta slammed Neymar with “omitting sources of income from abroad” from 2011-2013. 188.8 million reals ($47.75 million U.S.) of Neymar’s assets are now frozen.

But it doesn’t end there — as a result of not paying taxes from 2007-2008, Neymar and his father had to pay a €100,000 fine ($109,374 US). Neymar appealed that order and will most likely appeal the current ruling.

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Things got only more complicated in 2015 when a Spanish court discovered enough evidence for a trial over allegations in connection to the transfer from Santos to Barcelona. Neymar and his father were never charged in Spain, but his club, FC Barcelona will be brought to trial. Club president Josep Bartomeu and former club president Alexandre “Sandro” Russell will have to testify against tax fraud charges. FC Barcelona has denied any wrongdoing.