Barcelona forward Neymar has had his yacht and jet impounded and some $50 million of his assets frozen by Brazilian tax authorities. The Brazilian superstar and his family were found guilty of tax evasion last year. According to the authorities, Neymar owes some $16 million in back taxes he avoided paying between 2011 and 2013 when he as at the Brazilian club, Santos. Although he maintains he is innocent, this is not the first time Neymar and his father have run afoul of the taxman.
Neymar’s assets were frozen in September and in January, he was ordered to pay a 100,000-euro fine over unpaid taxes dating to 2007-2008.He also has an ongoing court case in the Spanish courts relating to discrepancies in the transfer dealings that brought him from Santos to Barcelona in 2013. Earlier this month, he appeared in court to give testimony for that case.
The Spanish authorities seem to have made it a pet project to pursue Barcelona’s players. Neymar’s striker partner Lionel Messi is also on trial for tax evasion in Spain. Charges against Messi relate to some $4 million in unpaid taxes dating back to 2007-2009.
Meanwhile, Barça defender Javier Mascherano recently made a deal with prosecutors in order to avoid jail time for unpaid taxes. Despite the difficulties some of their players are having with the law, Barcelona is flying high in La Liga. The club currently sits three points clear of second place Atletico Madrid following their 6-1 beating of Celta Vigo on the weekend.
The Catalans have a chance to open up a six-point lead at the top of the table Wednesday when they face Sporting Gijon. The match is a carryover from the first round and was rescheduled due to Barça’s participation in the Club World Cup.