Neymar Assets Frozen: Soccer Star Accused Of Tax Evasion

FC Barcelona star Neymar, embroiled in an ugly tax evasion scandal, just had his assets frozen. However, that could be the least of his worries if he fails to pay off the amount owed.

According to the Associated Press, the Sao Paulo federal court moved to freeze assets connected to the 23-year-old soccer player, his family, and related businesses. The estimated value of the assets is 188.8 million Brazilian reals or $48 million; the court claims that Neymar evaded paying 63 million reals ($16 million) between 2011 and 2013. Judge Carlos Muta, quoted by the AP, stated that Neymar only declared assets totaling 19.6 million reals, a little less than $5 million.

Muta moved to freeze three times the amount owed because, as reported by CNN, the judge wanted to prevent Neymar from selling off assets before the case could be resolved. The move also ensures there should be enough money to cover resulting fines and interest payments.

The core of the tax problem for Neymar stemmed from his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to FC Barcelona in Spain. Valued at 86.2 million euros ($96.5 million), the Neymar transfer didn’t pay out what Santos was expecting. CNN reported, “a large chunk” of the money went to a company owned by the soccer star’s father, Neymar Sr.

Neymar Sr., who works as his son’s business manager, has spoken out against the court’s actions. He told the Associated Press Brazil’s tax agency “doesn’t understand” Neymar Jr.’s current tax obligations.

“Neymar Jr. is not a partner in any of those companies and, therefore, he cannot declare something he does not own.”

Muta disagrees, saying the player “is solely responsible” for the income declaration and any discrepancies in asset reporting. As such, it’s his livelihood on the line. Failure to pay the amount owed could result in jail time for Neymar.

Iagaro Jung Martins, an auditor with Brazil’s federal tax agency, is confident that should the soccer star get in front of the problem, the court will be lenient. “He will be able to discuss the frozen assets in a civil court, but legislation in Brazil isn’t too harsh,” Martins adds.

“If Neymar pays what he owes, he is very likely to be free from any other punishment.”

Do you think the Brazilian court was right to freeze more of Neymar’s assets than what he owed? Should the soccer star have to pay millions in tax money or is it all one big misunderstanding? Share your thoughts below.

[Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images]