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Brazil court freezes almost $50 million in Neymar assets


during the UEFA Champions League match between AS Roma and FC Barcelona on September 16, 2015 in Rome, Italy.

Paolo Bruno

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- A Brazilian court has frozen assets of Barcelona star Neymar, his family and related businesses valued at 188.8 million Brazilian reals ($48 million).

The Sao Paulo federal court said Friday that the 23-year-old is alleged to have evaded 63 million reals in Brazil taxes (almost US$ 16 million) between 2011 and 2013. He moved in 2013 from Brazilian club Santos to Spain’s Barcelona.

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In a statement, Judge Carlos Muta said Neymar only declared assets worth 19.6 million reals (a little less than US$ 5 million).

However, Iagaro Jung Martins, an auditor with Brazil’s federal tax agency, said that Neymar isn’t likely to go to jail if he pays what he owes.

“He will be able to discuss the frozen assets in a civil court,” Martins told The Associated Press. “But legislation in Brazil isn’t too harsh. If Neymar pays what he owes, he is very likely to be free from any other punishment.”

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Contacted by AP, Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro referred all question to Neymar’s father Neymar da Silva Santos. The elder Neymar was not immediately available for comment.

In May, a Spanish court alleged Barcelona club president Josep Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell evaded millions in taxes after signing Neymar.