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Barca president, club to stand trial for tax fraud

13 March 2015, 16:06

MADRID - 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 13 million euros ($13.8 million) between 2011 and 2014 by trying to hide the real cost of the deal.

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

Judge Pablo Ruz decided there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial on charges of tax fraud and maladministration, court documents published on Friday showed.

Also read: Barca to prepare for El Clasico at minnows Eibar

Bartomeu, who was a vice president under Rosell and involved in negotiating the Neymar transfer, said at a court appearance last month that neither he nor the club and its officials had intentionally committed tax fraud.

Barca coach Luis Enrique told a post-training news conference on Friday he and his squad were focusing on playing football.

The La Liga leaders, who play at Eibar on Saturday, have a chance of repeating their historic 2009 treble of Spanish 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.

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- Reuters

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