Neymar’s Transfer to Barcelona Is Probed by Spanish Judge

A judge at Spain’s National Court agreed to investigate financial details of Brazilian soccer player Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona last year for irregularities.

The judge, Pablo Ruz, requested that the 21-year-old playmaker, his former club Santos and soccer’s Zurich-based governing body FIFA submit contracts and other documentation relating to the case, according to a court ruling.

Jordi Cases, a club member, filed a complaint against Barcelona president Sandro Rosell last month accusing him of “unlawful appropriation” in the deal.

Rosell, who said Barcelona spent 57 million euros ($77.3 million) to hire Neymar last June, denies wrongdoing. He said on Jan. 20 that the trade “was all perfectly above board and completely legal.”

Barcelona said last week that it paid 40 million euros of the price to N&N Consultoria Esportiva e Empresarial Ltd., which is owned by Neymar’s parents, according to a company filing.

Neymar agreed to cede his economic rights to Sao Paulo-based N&N on becoming a free agent, the ruling said. Last June, Barcelona had said financial details of the trade were protected by a confidentiality clause.

Neymar is not the only Barcelona player who is facing scrutiny of his finances.

In a separate case, Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s four-time world player of the year, and father appeared in court in September to give evidence to a judge after prosecutors accused them of evading 4.2 million euros in taxes on payments from Adidas AG, PepsiCo Inc. and other companies.

According to court documents, the Messis diverted 10 million euros through a series of companies to tax havens in Belize and Uruguay from 2007 to 2009.

Barcelona isn’t directly involved in that case, which the government is pursuing after the Messis paid 5 million euros, the amount prosecutors say they evaded plus interest.

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