The statement by the FC Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, before the Audiencia Nacional (National Court) took more than three hours on Friday morning. The president answered questions from the judge, the public prosecutor, the State prosecutor, the Club lawyer and his defence lawyer. The lawyer for the former president Sandro Rosell abstained from questions.
Josep Maria Bartomeu explained to the judge that the signing of Neymar, Sandro Rosell, in light of his greater knowledge of the football market, led negotiations with the player’s father. President Bartomeu, at that time sporting vice president, stated that he did not involve himself in the negotiations with the player’s father. In addition, he pointed out that once the negotiations were over, he received the contracts and he endorsed them, without noticing any possible area of financial risk.
According to Josep Maria Bartomeu’s statement, both he and Sandro Rosell at the time gave orders to pay tax on the agreement reached in line with the guidelines set out by the Club’s financial advisers at all times.
Regarding the accusation of unlawful administration, the now president Bartomeu requested a study of all the signing’s contracts with instructions to be extremely careful and to take no risks at all. The study recommended standardising tax matters which took place in February 2014.
As of today, the quantities paid by FC Barcelona to the tax authorities go beyond what is required in any interpretation of tax law.
The Club hopes and is confident that the statement will contribute to highlight the correct way in which the organisation acted in this matter.