$68m Of Neymar's Assets Frozen

His parents say tax-evasion case stems from incorrect understanding of player's income

SAO PAULO • The parents of Neymar have denied any wrongdoing after a judge froze 188.8 million reais (S$68 million) of his assets in a tax evasion case.

The Brazil football forward has been accused of not paying 63.3 million reais in taxes between 2011 and 2013. However, his parents said the Barcelona player "cannot declare what is not his".

They added that Neymar is also not a partner in the firms a judge said were partly-owned by him.

The judge froze three times that amount for security reasons and to cover potential interest and fines, according to a judicial order explaining the seizure.

The action covers property and vehicles and is a preventive measure to stop the player from selling assets before the case is settled.

However, Neymar will still have access to his bank accounts and other liquid assets.

Judge Carlos Muta accused the 23-year-old of "omitting sources of income from abroad".

Spanish football club Barcelona were cited as the source of unreported money.

The frozen assets were in the name of Neymar and three companies in which he and his parents are principal owners, the judge said.

Neymar's total assets were given as 244.2 million reais.

However, his parents said the decision was based on an "incorrect understanding" of his income.

"Neymar Jr did not avoid paying taxes, and neither did any of our companies," Neymar da Silva Santos and Nadine Goncalves da Silva Santos said in a statement released to the press.

"We have done our duty and we are confident that everything will be cleared up in due time."

Neymar joined Barcelona in June 2013 after a successful career at Santos but his transfer has been a source of controversy.

Then Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said the player cost €57.1 million (S$91 million) but the deal was shrouded in secrecy.

Rosell's successor Josep Maria Bartomeu eventually admitted the total cost came to €86.2 million - once the additional payments to the player and his family were accounted for.

Rosell resigned in January last year after a judge decided to investigate and call him to testify.

A Brazilian investment firm, which bought an interest in Neymar, has taken legal action against the player, his father and Barcelona in a bid to secure a bigger slice of the transfer fee.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 27, 2015, with the headline '$68M OF NEYMAR'S ASSETS FROZEN'. Print Edition | Subscribe