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Barca president sitting tight despite Neymar trial


Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted Tuesday he would remain in his post despite his upcoming date with a judge concerning the Neymar transfer case.

“To all those who have said that the management team or myself are thinking about resigning, I say we haven’t the slightest intention of doing so,” the 54-year-old Bartomeu told the clubs stake-holding fans known as ‘socios’.

“We feel we are in a legitimate position to continue making decisions for the club and we shall continue with enthusiasm and energy.”

Bartomeu took over in 2015 after predecessor Sandro Rosell was forced out amid the scandal surrounding the transfer of brilliant Brazil captain Neymar.

Ten days ago Neymar, his former club Santos, Barcelona, Bartomeu and Rosell were all told they would stand trial in an investigation into the 2013 transfer.

The current Barcelona president feels the player and Barcelona are victims of a conflict of interests between Brazilian tax authorities and Santos.

Neymar’s arrival from Santos has been a huge success for the Spanish champions on the pitch but a judicial nightmare off it.

The case initiated with a complaint from Brazilian investment company DIS, which owned 40 percent of Neymar’s sporting rights at the time of his transfer.

DIS received just 6.8 million euros — 40 percent of the 17 million euros fee paid to Santos — with the company claiming it was cheated out of its real share because part of the transfer fee was concealed by Barcelona, Santos and the Neymar family.

The court suspects Santos was actually paid 25 million euros, which would mean DIS was cheated out of 3.5 million euros.

Barcelona originally published the transfer figure as 57.1 million euros ($62.6 million), with 40 million euros of that given to the player’s family and the rest to Santos.

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