Poker protégé Neymar has told the media that he isn’t a “criminal” following an ongoing investigation into his financial dealings.
The PokerStars sponsored pro and Barcelona FC soccer star has been accused of tax evasion and in September 2015 he saw $48 million in assets frozen by a Brazilian court.
According to reports that surfaced in January 2016, Neymar allegedly owed $16 million in unpaid taxes and the judge had moved to freeze three times that amount until the case was resolved.
Do the Numbers Add Up?
At the heart of the issue is the Brazilian player’s much-publicized transfer from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 FC. Although the official transfer fee was never disclosed, media reports suggested it was in the region of €57 million ($63 million).
However, it’s since been alleged that the actual transfer fee was closer to €100 million ($110 million). If this is the case then it could also be the case that Neymar and his agents may have earned more money than originally thought.
In fact, according to Barcelona FC’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu, the “operation” did cost more than the publicized figure. Additionally, the soccer club recently agreed to pay a €5.5 million ($6 million) settlement in a Spanish court.
However, despite the negative press, the man himself insists he’s done nothing wrong and that people are too quick to judge.
“I have not done anything wrong. I’m not a criminal. Unfortunately, some people are always trying to create controversy. I do not know whether they do not have the right information or if they have bad intentions” Neymar told Brazilian publication, Isto E.
Business As Usual for Neymar
Whether or not his taxes are in order, the soccer pro doesn’t appear to be letting things affect his flourishing relationship with the poker community.
Back in 2015, he was inside the Rio to support his friend and Brazilian poker pro-Felipe Ramos at the WSOP and later this year he’s likely to make an appearance at EPT Barcelona as he did in 2015.
Beyond his time on the tournament circuit, Neymar has been busy filming a new series of commercials for PokerStars.
Working alongside stuntmen and martial arts experts Fabio Santos and Jonny Caines, Neymar can be seen showing off a dazzling array of soccer skills and capoeira moves.
Released in May, the commercial is not only designed to promote PokerStars’ knockout tournaments but highlight the Brazilian martial art of capoeira just in time for the Rio Olympics.