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FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu held a press conference this Monday along with Vice-Presidents Javier Faus, Manel Arroyo, and Jori Calsamiglia, coordinator of the Club’s legal team, to address the questions around Neymar’s signing and the 13.5 million euros paid to government tax authorities this morning to “cover the possible interpretations that can be given in all contracts signed” during Neymar’s signing process. Bartomeu and Faus clarified that they were advised by the Club’s legal counsel and external lawyers. “It’s an action of prudence recommended by our advisors,” said economic Vice-President Faus. “FC Barcelona worked legally in the signing of Neymar. We’ve always been advised by the best lawyers. We have always complied with our fiscal commitments and our debt is zero. We don’t owe taxes,” said President Bartomeu.
He added that he expects to recover the 13.5 million euros at the conclusion of the legal proceedings: “We are in the right. We are convinced that the money we paid to the Tax Agency, in order to avoid complicating the issue further, will be returned to the Club.”
“The fiscal operation is legitimate”
Faus went on to explain that the two firms hired by the Club – Cristóbal Martell and Cuatrecasas – concur in that “there is no criminal risk in the misappropriation” suit. “The fiscal operation is also legitimate. There is no business simulation. But our advisors noted that the Tax Agency is very aggressive when it comes to business simulation,” said Faus. The economic vice-president added: “We have been informed that the contract signed with N&N could be considered salary, and we were advised, given this possible interpretation, to make an additional statement.” Faus also noted his surprise that that “National Court accepted the complaint against Barça for tax fraud without first consulting with the Tax Agency.”
Faus confirmed that the Club “has paid 13.5 million euros in order to avoid risks. The tax is only on the 40 million euros, but we have also included the scouting and marketing contracts.” He reiterated that the 40 million sum paid to N&N “is a legal and transparent payment. We find ourselves with the paradox of having to pay taxes twice.” The vice-president then explained that the operation has been taxed twice, seeing that N&N paid its taxes in Brazil and FC Barcelona paid its taxes in Spain. “We, in defence of the Club, have had to take this route. We will have to wait for the two agencies to talk to each other and come to an agreement.”
Finally, President Bartomeu said that “if Club member Jordi Cases hadn’t brought the suit against Barça, this would not have happened.”
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