French Authorities Investigate Alleged Tax Evasion in Neymar Jr.’s PSG Transfer

Probe Raises Questions About PSG's 2017 Deal and Political Involvement.
Tax evasion

Credit: Unsplash


Probe Raises Questions About PSG’s 2017 Deal and Political Involvement.

French authorities have launched an investigation into allegations of tax evasion related to the 2017 transfer of Brazilian football star Neymar Jr. to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Reports indicate that several high-profile French politicians may have played a role in helping PSG avoid a 40% tax on the record €222 million deal, amounting to €88 million.

Earlier this week, anti-corruption officers conducted a raid at the Ministry of Economy and Finances’ headquarters in connection with suspicions that politicians facilitated favorable tax treatment for Neymar’s transfer. French investigative newspaper Mediapart had previously revealed that prominent figures, including then-public accounts minister Gérald Darmanin, were allegedly involved in aiding PSG in bypassing the mandatory tax.

In 2017, Neymar was transferred from FC Barcelona to PSG for a record €222 million. The intricate details of the transfer involved Neymar paying his own release clause, triggering tax implications based on his next country of residence. Documents obtained from Football Leaks suggested that conversations and meetings occurred between politicians, including Darmanin and Jérôme Fournel, PSG leaders, and the club’s then-head of communication, Jean-Martial Ribes.

Following these exchanges, French tax authorities reportedly decided not to tax the €222 million deal, potentially saving PSG €88 million. The investigation raises questions about whether French President Emmanuel Macron was aware of or supported these actions.

Authorities initiated the investigation after the revelations, leading to the recent raid on the Ministry of Economy and Finances’ headquarters. Gérald Darmanin, who is currently serving as Macron’s interior minister, has not been charged at this time. However, in a separate investigation in December, Jean-Martial Ribes, PSG’s former head of communication, faced corruption charges and other allegations related to lobbying practices involving Qatar, PSG, and various French and Qatari figures.

Ribes denies the allegations, emphasizing that his actions during his tenure with PSG were in accordance with the law. The ongoing investigation, which includes some overlapping individuals, draws parallels with a broader probe from 2022 involving PSG owner Nasser al-Khelaifi, who was considered a person of interest.

A spokesperson for Nasser al-Khelaifi stated, “Nasser Al-Khelaifi is a victim in this case and has been fully cooperating with authorities from day one.” The spokesperson characterized the case as media manipulation and expressed full faith in the French justice system.