No court in the world cares who you play for if you owe them vast sums of money. FC Barcelona forward Neymar found that out the hard way when his assets in his home country were frozen by the federal court of the state of San Paulo. His alleged crime was tax evasion from 2011 to 2013, charges he has vehemently denied. However, his claims of innocence fell on deaf ears and the court proceeded to block £34.5 million worth of his assets, including a yacht, a private jet, properties and three companies belonging to his family. Talk about hitting you where it hurts.
To unfreeze his assets, Neymar will have to pay the court a royal ransom of £11 million, a sum he’d so far avoided by setting up several companies to pay a lower rate of tax.
“He can still appeal the decision, but it is a step forward,” said Iagaro Jung Martins, who audits for the federal tax agency, “If he pays what he owes, the case is closed. Our legislation isn’t too harsh.”
We plebes think it’s plenty harsh, especially considering that they’re holding property worth more than he actually owes. Still, this may not be Neymar’s only problem. The accusations of corruption and fraud in Spain that precipitated his move from Santos to Barcelona continue to haunt him and we’re wondering if the penalty he will face for that will cost him more than a yacht.