- Spanish judge asks soccer teams to reveal bids for Brazilian
- Barcelona, Santos accused of paying player to supress market
A judge in Madrid asked some of Europe’s biggest soccer clubs -- Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich-- to hand over copies of offers for star player Neymar before he joined Barcelona for a transfer fee of 17 million euros ($19.2 million) in 2013.
Jose de la Mata Amaya made the request as he agreed to look into a complaint by DIS - Esportes y Organizacao de Eventos Ltda., which owned a 40 percent stake in Neymar’s transfer rights. The Brazilian investment group claims that his market value fell as part of an arrangement in which Barcelona agreed to pay him a 40 million-euro signing-on fee, according to court documents.
DIS accuses Neymar along with Barcelona and Santos executives of “corruption between individuals” and “fraud” in the way they arranged the 2013 transfer and drew up multiple contracts, according to the documents.
There are indications the signing-on fee -- among the biggest in soccer history -- might have interfered with the “free market” of player transfers, De la Mata Amaya said. Barcelona paid Neymar the first part of the fee in 2011, 18 months before he joined the Spanish club.
De la Mata Amaya asked Chelsea, City, Real and Bayern to submit offers made to Santos or Neymar and his parents between 2009 and 2013. Neymar and executives of Barcelona and Santos will be called to give evidence in the case, the judge added in the documents.
It’s the latest legal move in the controversial transfer. Barcelona executives face a trial in Spain for allegedly evading about 9 million euros of taxes in the trade and Neymar is also being investigated by Brazil’s tax authorities. Neymar, Barcelona and Santos have all denied wrongdoing.