Brazil and Barcelona star striker Neymar has been let off the hook of tax fraud charges leveled against him as well as his s father and two senior FC Barcelona figures.
Brazilian Magistrate, Mateus Castelo Branco Firmino da Silva said the charges brought on Tuesday “should be rejected.”
The ruling late on Thursday in Santos will come as big relief for the Brazilian superstar who is a year older today.
Prosecutors claimed that Neymar tactfully evaded tax by falsifying documents between 2006, when he was just a promising youngster at Brazilian football club Santos, and 2013, when he signed for Barcelona.
FC Barcelona faces a separate case in Spain, where Brazilian investment fund DIS has made allegations of fraud and corruption relating to Neymar’s signing in 2013. The striker testified this week in Madrid in that case.
Da Silva said in his ruling that the case against Neymar, his father and two senior FC Barcelona management figures – current president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell – could not go ahead while the tax authorities had not yet completed their probe.
“You cannot open criminal proceedings before the tax authorities complete their accounting,” he said.
Sao Paulo prosecutors said they would appeal and stressed that the ruling “does not absolve the accused.”
“We have only to wait until the completion of the work by the tax authorities and then we will present an identical set of charges,” the prosecutor’s office said.