Bartomeu hits back at tax claims
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has hit back after Spanish prosecutors called for the club to face trial over alleged tax fraud surrounding the signing of Neymar in 2013.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, a petition was raised against the club, former president Sandro Rosell and his successor Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The acquisition of Neymar has been under the spotlight over the past 12 months after his move from Santos prior to the 2013-14 campaign, a deal estimated to be worth in the region of €57million although some claims suggested it was closer to €95m.
The furore led to Rosell leaving his post and Bartomeu stepping up in his place, and he has continued to claim the transfer was completed with all the relevant documentation.
Following the claims on Tuesday, the Catalan giants released a statement to express their "indignation", and Bartomeu later made an appearance on Catalan television to reveal his belief that Barcelona are under attack.
"It seems that signing Neymar has been a sin, we have not stopped receiving attacks since his signing," he told TV3. "The signing did not please certain sectors and prompted an attack against the club.
"We have acted correctly, and have not committed a crime. There was no crime or not wanting to pay taxes.
"There is a red line that has been crossed and we have to say enough. There is too much going on and we have to put a stop to it because a line has been crossed.
"Barca will defend their interests. I will declare before judge Ruz and tell him that everything has been done correctly."