Brazilian club Santos said Friday they have filed a complaint with FIFA against Neymar, his father, his company and Barcelona for short-changing them on the star striker’s May 2013 transfer.
Santos president Modesto Roma Junior said the Spanish investigation into alleged tax fraud in Neymar’s transfer had revealed that the real fee paid for him was at least 83.4 million euros ($91.5m) — far higher than the 57 million euros ($62m) that Barca insist they paid.
“Santos believe that Barcelona, Neymar and his company violated the transfer contract and demand payment for damages, plus interest,” Roma told journalists.
In an emotional press conference, he said he did not want to attack one of his club’s biggest heroes but had to look out for the team’s financial interests.
“We’re not taking action against our idol, we’re taking it for Santos,” he said.
“We couldn’t overlook the situation. Santos is greater than its parts. We respect everyone and their images, but we have to be compensated for the damages caused to the club.”
He said Santos had signed a contract with the parties involved for 17.1 million euros ($18.7m), plus a two-million-euro bonus in case Neymar was named a finalist for FIFA’s player of the year award.
The case also targets the Brazil captain’s company, Neymar Sports & Marketing, and his father, Neymar da Silva Santos.
It was filed with FIFA’s arbitration committee, and can later be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, said Santos lawyer Fatima Bucker.
Spanish investigators accuse Barcelona of concealing the full amount paid for Neymar by splitting it between a number of different contracts with the player and Santos.
The La Liga side are accused of defrauding the Spanish tax man of 12.7 million euros.
Earlier this month a judge ordered Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and former president Sandro Rosell to stand trial for tax fraud.
Spanish radio station Cadena Ser reported last month that Neymar would be called as a witness in the case. Citing legal sources, it said he had personally signed nine of the 13 contracts under investigation.
Prosecutors have requested a prison sentence of two years and three months for Bartomeu and seven and a half years for his predecessor Rosell.
Rosell resigned over the scandal in January 2014 with his then vice president Bartomeu taking charge. – Agence France-Presse