Neymar Jr., PokerStars’ recent signee, is at the center of a financial crisis worth more than $47 million after a judge in Brazil froze the football star’s assets.
In a ruling made on Friday, Judge Carlos Muta deemed that assets linked to the 23-year-old, his family, and certain businesses must be frozen after allegations of tax evasion came to light.
According to that decision, Neymar Jr. is alleged to have missed tax payments amounting to $15.1 million between 2011 and 2013. During his summary of the case, Muta explained that the soccer player and PokerStars Team SportsStars ambassador is accused of “omitting sources of income from abroad.”
Neymar’s Bankroll Management Issues
The Brazilian judge went on to say that the Barcelona FC attacker is “solely responsible for the income declaration” of all the businesses he is connected to. Therefore, he has been forced to place a court injunction on a variety of cash and property assets linked to Neymar Jr.
During Neymar’s move from Santos FC to Barcelona FC in 2013, the club’s president, Sandro Rosell, refused to reveal the full terms of the deal. Despite stating that it cost Barcelona €57.1 million ($63.7 million), part of the transaction wasn’t disclosed to the public until Josep Maria Bartomeu took control of the club.
It was later came out that the transfer actually cost €86.2 million ($96.2 million) after a series of payments to Neymar Jr. and his family had been taken into account.
Parents Say Son is Innocent
At this stage, the global sports superstar himself hasn’t made a public comment on the accusations. His parents have said that the case is based on an “incorrect understanding” of their son’s finances.
“Neymar Jr. did not avoid paying taxes, and neither did any of our companies,” said Neymar da Silva Santos and Nadine Goncalves da Silva Santos, his parents.
A review of PokerStars’ official media channels hasn’t uncovered any comments on the issue as of yet. Whether the online poker site will continue this strategy of silence until the case has been resolved remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Neymar Jr. has shaved his head, much to the chagrin of adoring fans around the world. No one seems to know exactly what brought about the not-quite-as-sexy styling decision.
Will PokerStars Fold on Neymar Jr.?
Although the official terms of the PokerStars’ pro player contracts are not publicly available, the operator has always worked hard to maintain certain codes of ethics among its team. Back in 2014, the online poker site terminated the contract of Scottish poker pro Dale Philip aka ‘Daleroxxu’.
Philip was once a part of Team Online, but was given the boot after he made a crude gesture during a soccer match. Not wanting his move to bring the brand into disrepute, PokerStars decided to end its relationship with the online pro.
In a similar case, 888poker was forced to conduct a review of its relationship with Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez after he bit a player during the World Cup. Despite only being with the company for a month, Suarez was shown the red card for what 888poker described as “unsporting behavior.”
If these cases are used as any sort of precedent by PokerStars, it could signal the end of its high-profile partnership with one of the world’s top soccer stars.