Upsetting millions of Brazilians two years ago, soccer star Neymar jumped from Brazil to Spain to play for Barcelona. Now a Brazilian court is taking a shot of its own by charging that Neymar didn’t declare all his businesses, income, and assets and owes the nation of his birth millions in taxes.
The court has frozen his accounts as authorities investigate.
In 2013, Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr., simply known as “Neymar” by millions of soccer fans, went from playing on Brazil’s Santos football team to competing for Barcelona in Spain. Brazilians often called him “the next Pelé,” a nod to Brazil’s most famous footballer.
This week, Brazilian Judge Carlos Muta froze upwards to $48 million of the player’s assets as well as some of the accounts of his family members in order to keep him from transferring or trying to hide his income.
The judge claims that Neymar only declared a little less than $5 million in assets when he moved to Spain.
To safeguard future payments, the court froze assets worth 150 percent of what they estimate Neymar might owe including penalties and fines. An auditor with Brazil’s tax agency, though, told the media that there wouldn’t likely be any jail time and the whole thing is probably not going to be too bad for the soccer star if he just pays what he owes.
“He will be able to discuss the frozen assets in a civil court,” the auditor told the Associated Press. “But legislation in Brazil isn’t too harsh. If Neymar pays what he owes, he is very likely to be free from any other punishment.”
Representatives for the player call the charges “unjust.”
Neymar’s father told the AP, “Neymar Jr. is not a partner in any of those companies and, therefore, he cannot declare something he does not own.”
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