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Barcelona 'may have paid €95m for Neymar'

ESPN staff
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Rosell: Nothing to hide in Neymar transfer

Barcelona may have paid €95 million to sign Neymar last summer rather than the €57m they said they did, leaked court documents seen by El Mundo are reported to reveal.

The Madrid-based newspaper reported that the leaked papers detail three different payments of millions of euros to the Neymar family between 2011 and 2013.

It said some direct payments to the Brazil international's father are listed as "to scout young talent at [Neymar's former club] Santos" and "to help children in the favelas of Sao Paulo."

El Mundo reported that the full breakdown of the €95m includes €40m to the Neymar family, €17m to Santos, €7.9m for rights to three further young Santos players, €9m for two friendly games between the clubs, €8.5m in commission to Neymar senior, €2.6m in other agents' fees and a signing-on bonus of €10m.

If Barca did pay €38m more than they had stated, Neymar would be the world's most expensive player ahead of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, who cost €94m, and Gareth Bale (who Madrid have said cost €91m, despite the general consensus being that the fee was a record €100m).

On Monday, Barcelona sources told Mundo Deportivo that the El Mundo story was false. Barca have previously said the investigation into the Neymar deal is "unjustified" and "strange" and that they remained "calm" about it, insisting the move had been had been complex but skilfully negotiated.

Last week, Neymar said there was "nothing illegal" about the deal, which had been handled on his behalf by his father.

Audiencia Nacional judge Pablo Ruz has reportedly asked for copies of documents from Santos and FIFA as he investigates a complaint by Barca socio Jordi Cases that club president Sandro Rosell and his fellow board members had not told club members the full truth about the deal.

Barca may not be legally obliged to disclose all their business dealings to members and could claim that items such as the friendlies or options on other Santos players were independent agreements and nothing to do with the transfer.

Spanish and Brazilian tax authorities and other observers, including third-party investors who previously held a stake in Neymar's rights, are likely to be following developments closely.

El Mundo also broke the news of an investigation into allegations that the 'Leo Messi & Friends' exhibition games played in Colombia and elsewhere last summer were possibly used to launder drug money. That investigation remains ongoing.

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