Brazil court orders Neymar’s assets seized in tax-evasion probe

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 26 (IANS) A Brazilian court has ordered the seizure of assets totalling 188.8 million reais (around $47 million) from football star Neymar to ensure payment of alleged unpaid taxes related to his signing by FC Barcelona, judicial sources have said.

In a September 11 ruling, Judge Carlos Muta of the Sao Paulo-based Regional Federal Court of the 3rd Region ordered that amount seized as a precautionary measure, that tribunal said on Friday, reports Efe.

Brazilian tax authorities are demanding that the star 23-year-old striker pay nearly 63.6 million reais (around $16 million) in taxes on undeclared income between 2011 and 2013.

The court ordered 150 percent of that total seized to ensure payment of interest and penalties for alleged tax evasion related to his move from Brazilian-league club Santos to Barcelona, which was completed in June 2013.

The Spanish media reported in January 2014, citing leaked documents from a Spanish court probe into the transfer, that the Catalan club paid a total of 95 million euros in three separate multi-million-euro payments between 2011 and 2013, not the officially announced 57 million euros.

They included 8 million euros paid to Neymar’s father for services that included the search for new Santos talent and the securing of advertising contracts with Brazilian companies.

Reports also said then the payments involved no type of obligation on the part of the Neymar family, which would receive those funds regardless of the success of the work to be carried out.

The were “fictitious agreements to disguise the football player’s real earnings,” the newspaper said.

The Brazilian court said on Friday the judge decided to freeze the assets of Neymar’s father and the family-owned companies Neymar Sport e Marketing, N&N Consultoria and N&N Administracao de Bens Participacoes e Investimentos because the $47 million sum amounts to more than 30 percent of Neymar’s declared net worth of 244.2 million reais (some $61 million).

Brazil’s tax agency said the player evaded taxes by declaring a chunk of the money he earned from his signing with Barcelona as his companies’ income, the judge ruled.

Neymar also failed to declare income from endorsement deals, the sale of image rights and other contracts signed with Barcelona and other companies between 2011 and 2013, the tax agency said.

The judge said in his ruling that he decided to order the seizure of assets of family-owned companies given that all of the equity of these firms comes “exclusively” from the player’s work.

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