Josep Maria Bartomeu, Sandro Rosell and Barcelona will all stand trial for fiscal and administrative irregularities in relation to the signing of Neymar.
Judge Pablo Ruz concluded his investigation into the case, proceedings of which began last month, and the Catalans’ last-ditch attempts to prevent prosecution have proved unsuccessful.
The club’s lawyers claimed that as the allegations occurred in Barcelona, the case should have been heard in Catalonia, rather than the High Court, but prosecutor Perals rejected the request.
Prior to the both men being called before the judge, President Bartomeu and predecessor Rosell gave statements about the signing alongside witnesses, among whom was the Brazilian forward’s father.
After gathering information and listening to various testimonies, Ruz decided there was enough evidence for a trial in relation to the alleged offenses against the Spanish Treasury.
It is alleged that the club made payments to the player, which should have been taxed in Spain but were never declared, while they are purported to have agreed fraudulent contracts with front companies.
All three parties, including Barca as a taxable entity, will face charges of tax evasion and administrative irregularities, with cases of fraud exceeding €600,000 prompting punishments between two and six years’ imprisonment for both Bartomeu and Rosell.
The deal to take Neymar to Camp Nou from Santos in the summer of 2013 was initially thought to be worth €57.1m but later confirmed to be €86.2m after payments to the player and his family were accounted for.