Saturday 16 December 2017

Barca chiefs to stand trial

A Spanish judge has decided to send Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu, his predecessor Sandro Rosell and the club to trial over alleged tax fraud in the signing of Brazil forward Neymar.

Bartomeu, Rosell and club are accused of defrauding the tax authorities of around €13m between 2011 and 2014 by trying to hide the real cost of the deal.

Rosell initially said Neymar had cost €57.1m but the club later admitted a host of additional contracts with the player and his father had pushed the value of the transfer closer to €100m.

Judge Pablo Ruz decided there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial on charges of tax fraud and maladministration.

Barca announced they would appeal the decision and said they believed the evidence did not show a crime had been committed.

Barca coach Luis Enrique said he and his squad were focusing on playing football.

The La Liga leaders, who play at Eibar today, have a chance of repeating their historic 2009 treble of the league and Cup and Champions League this season.

They have a one-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid in La Liga, take a 2-1 lead into Wednesday's Champions League last 16, second leg at home to Manchester City and are through to the King's Cup final.

"What we have control over are the training sessions, everything else is in the hands of the justice system," Luis Enrique said when asked about the tax fraud trial.

"We will see what happens when there is a final decision on the matter," he added.

"Unfortunately we are used to controversy, rumours and this sort of news but we have to carry on with our job." (Additional reporting by Elena Gyldenkerne in Barcelona, writing by Iain Rogers, editing by Toby Davis)


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