For many years, Spanish giants, Barcelona has remained undoubtedly the king of tiki-taka football in the world with their passing game only rivalled by Premier League club, Arsenal. For the quality of football the club plays, many players will jump on the next flight anytime Barcelona show interest in them.
However such high profile of the club is being dragged in the mud following allegation of tax fraud, tax evasion and transfer hoax by players, officials and representatives of the La Blaugrana.
In the last two years, no fewer than five players or former players of the club have been sentenced to ‘prison for tax related offences.
Only last week, Spanish prosecutors are seeking a prison term of more than 10 years for the former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o for alleged tax crimes committed when the Cameroonian played for the Catalan club.
In addition to a sentence of 10 years and six months, prosecutors are also demanding a fine of £12.11m for the four counts of tax fraud for supposedly defrauding Spain’s tax authority of almost £3.21m from 2006 to 09, according to court documents released last Thursday.
Eto’o, 35, played for Barcelona from 2004 to 09. The Cameroon striker now plays with the Turkish club Antalyaspor.
In July, Lionel Messi and his father were sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud, although they were not sent to jail because sentences of less than two years for first offences are usually suspended in Spain.
Neymar and Barcelona are dealing with the Spanish authorities because of the player’s transfer from the Brazilian club Santos in 2013. Prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they are seeking to punish the Brazilian player and his club, as well as his parents, his Brazilian club and its former president because of an investment group’s claim that they concealed the value of the star’s transfer fee.
In June, Barcelona paid a fine of £4.65m after acknowledging to Spain’s tax authority it made “an error in the fiscal planning of the player’s transfer”.
Also this year, the Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano was handed a suspended one-year sentence for tax fraud, and the former defender Adriano was also charged with tax irregularities.