Barca president maintains silence in Neymar transfer case

Josep Maria Bartomeu (Club website)
Josep Maria Bartomeu (Club website)

Madrid  - Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell refused to testify before a judge on Monday for suspected irregularities in the transfer of Brazilian star Neymar, insisting on the version of events they had given for a previous hearing, according to judicial sources.

Bartomeu and Rosell were called to give evidence at Spain's national court in Madrid over a complaint for fraud and corruption brought by Brazilian investment fund DIS, which held 40 percent of Neymar's sporting rights when he played at Santos before joining Barca in 2013.

Neymar has been called to give evidence on Tuesday.

The deal was originally valued at €57.1 million by Barca, €40 million of which was paid to the N&N company owned by the player's father with Santos receiving just €17.1 million.

However, Spanish judicial authorities have estimated the number of simultaneous deals in the transfer amounted to at least €83.3 million.

DIS has claimed it was cheated of its real share of the benefits of the 23-year-old's move firstly because part of the transfer fee was concealed by Barcelona and Santos.

Moreover, they also believe a pre-contract agreement between Neymar and Barca impeded other clubs from making offers for the player affecting the value of the transfer fee.

DIS received just €6.8 million from the deal - 40 percent of the €17.1 million paid to Santos.

Bartomeu and Rosell ratified what they had declared to the court in February 2015 and July 2014 respectively in a separate case in which they and Barcelona as a club face charges of tax fraud.

By splitting the fee between a number of different contracts between Santos and Neymar himself, Barcelona stand accused of defrauding the Spanish taxman of €12.7 million euros.

In that case Bartomeu laid the responsibility at Rosell's door, saying the latter "led the negotiations with the player's father".

For his part, Rosell - who resigned amidst the scandal over how much Neymar cost the club in January 2014 - insisted the "contracts were done perfectly".

The judge has also called Neymar's parents to testify, as well as representatives and the presidents of Santos when the deal took place Odilio Rodriguez and Luis Alvaro de Oliveira, who have requested to make their declarations in Brazil.

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