Barcelona and Brazil forward Neymar Jr has been ordered to cough out €45m to the Brazilian treasury for tax crimes.
According to newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, a Brazilian court found the former Santos man guilty of committing tax evasion and tax fraud, but the sentence is not final, so the attacker can appeal the decision.
The court ruling states Neymar used his companies to avoid paying €56m in tax from his earnings with Santos, Barca and Nike between 2012 and 2014, while false contracts written to pay less contributions were discovered.
“Having analysed the information on Neymar, the three companies involved and his partners [the player’s parents], we can confirm that fraudulent business practices were carried out,” Develly Claudia Montez, who performed the audit, was quoted as saying by AS.
The Brazilian becomes the second Barcelona star to be hit with a tax fine following Javier Mascherano’s one year jail term sentence in January.
Mascherano was sentenced to a year in prison over £1.15m tax fraud and fined £625,000 but the Argentine star avoided spending a year behind bars, as his lawyer David Aineto had requested the prison sentence to be substituted for a fine.