Neymar wins appeal, tax fine set to be halved

Football superstar Neymar had argued that he was within his rights to have his family control his lucrative image rights.
Football superstar Neymar had argued that he was within his rights to have his family control his lucrative image rights.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO • Football superstar Neymar was left a happy man on Thursday after seeing a 188 million reais (S$84.45 million) fine imposed by Brazilian tax authorities reportedly halved on appeal.

The 25-year-old Brazilian had argued that he was within his rights to have his family control his lucrative image rights. Brazilian prosecutors had insisted that such a procedure encouraged tax evasion.

The new financial calculation has not been made, but the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper estimated that the original fine imposed in March last year could be halved.

"We won a great victory... Our family businesses have been recognised as legitimate," the player's father Neymar Santos said on social media.

On Wednesday, a financial appeals court, a body linked to the Brazilian economy ministry, quashed two convictions against the player in relation to irregularities in the payment of taxes on deals through two companies created by his father. But three other convictions were upheld.

Neymar has also been fighting lengthy legal battles over his move to Spanish club Barcelona from Santos in 2013.

The La Liga outfit had originally published the transfer figure as €57.1 million (S$86.18 million), with €40 million of that given to the player's family. But Spanish authorities believe the true transfer figure was at least €83 million.

Last December, a Spanish court ratified a deal that left Barcelona with a €5.5 million fine but avoiding trial on tax evasion charges over the contested transfer.

Neymar, who suffered a thigh problem after Barcelona's 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last week, is set to return to action tomorrow when his side take on Valencia in La Liga.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Neymar wins appeal, tax fine set to be halved'. Print Edition | Subscribe