Barcelona to appeal Bartomeu ruling

It was confirmed on Friday that the Blaugrana supremo must stand trial for alleged tax evasion in relation to Neymar’s move to Camp Nou from Santos in 2013

Barcelona have confirmed that they will appeal against the Spanish national court order that club president Josep Maria Bartomeu must stand trial on tax evasion charges.

On Friday, Judge Pablo Ruz ruled that a criminal offence had been committed in the deal that saw Brazil forward Neymar join the Catalan outfit from Santos in the summer of 2013 and decreed that Bartomeu must be tried for his role in the transfer.

Barca initially stated that they had paid €57.1 million for the striker but it subsequently emerged that the fee was closer to €86 million, prompting an inquiry by the Spanish state into alleged tax evasion.

Bartomeu has previously stated that he played no part in the negotiations, claiming that predecessor Sandro Rosell, who must also go to court, was solely responsible for the transaction.

Barca have been left enraged by the suggestion that either Bartomeu or the club are guilty of any wrongdoing, and also bitterly upset that the judge wrapped up the investigation into the transfer before the media.

“Futbol Club Barcelona has learned today of Judge Pablo Ruz’s decision to declare his inquiry over and proceed with the foreseen procedures with regard to the Club itself, its president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and it former president, Sandro Rosell,” read a club statement.

“On this historic decision, FC Barcelona wishes to make the following statements:

“First, the Club does not agree with the aforesaid verdict, as indicated by the arguments contained in the documents presented in defence of the said persons,and that basically describe in detail how it is not true that a criminal offence has been committed.

“Second, in response to the aforesaid verdict, FC Barcelona announces that it shall be appealing against the same, although this announcement must be made notionally, because its representatives have not yet received any formal notification from the Court.

“Third, it is strange, and breeds uncertainty, that after the Club’s defence should have pressed charges of unsuitability against Judge Ruz yesterday, the judge should settle the case today before the media. It is difficult to understand and could possibly be misconstrued, that on the very same day that the judge formally requests assistance from the Public Ministry that the act whereby the Judge has already resolved this question is announced via the media, without issue of the report or the club being notified of the same.

“This can only be explained when it is confirmed that all of the judicial resolutions contain, word for word, all of the considerations made by the Ministry of Public Prosecution, without at any time attending to any of the requests made by the parties, or even implementing the procedures requested by the defence.

“Fourth, the club shall immediately press charges against the unusual speed with which the procedures are being carried out. A speed that does not respect the usual rates for such procedures, nor offers guarantees for the parties, such as, for example, the fact that to date no statement by the FC Barcelona legal representative has been heard, although this had been agreed with the magistrate.

“The Club, both with regard to this case and other aggressions received in its 115 years of history, will not tolerate such actions, especially when it has offered to collaborate and explain, from the start, all of the events surrounding the transfer of the player Neymar Jr.

“Finally, FC Barcelona wishes to send out a message of calm to its members and inform them that, if to date it has been especially careful with the ways it has dealt with this unpleasant affair, from now on, and given that the internal dynamics of this difficult affair go beyond the strictly legal sphere, the Club shall be doing everything possible to set matters straight, as it always has done throughout its history, and will continue offering every success possible to its members.”