Brazilian authorities have seized assets of Barcelona star Neymar, including a yacht, a jet and several properties.
A Sao Paulo federal court turned down appeal from the Brazilian striker last week and began issuing warrants to freeze the assets worth 192 million reals (£33 million), according to reports in Brazil.
Last year, Neymar, his family and related businesses were found guilty of evading 63 million reals in taxes (almost £11 million) between 2011 and 2013 when he was playing for Brazilian club Santos.
The 23-year-old Neymar used the jet to travel to Brazil for World Cup qualifying matches and holidays.
Iagaro Jung Martins, an auditor with Brazil’s federal tax agency, told The Associated Press that Neymar will avoid jail provided he repays the tax say he owes to the authorities.
“He can still appeal that decision, but it is a step forward,” Martins told the AP. “Nothing changed to what was in place last year: if he pays what he owes, the case is closed. Our legislation isn’t too harsh.”
While the Brazilian contests the asset freeze in Brazil, he is simultaneously fighting a similar battle in Spain with tax authorities.
On February 2 Neymar and his father were questioned for three hours in a Madrid court about the player’s transfer to Barcelona. The case was brought by Grupo Sonda, which invested in Neymar early in his career and was allegedly entitled to 40 percent of the total transfer amount.
Barcelona insist the deal cost the club 57.1 million euros (£44 million). Santos officially received a payment of 17.1 million euros (£13 million), with the remaining 40 million euros £31 million) going to a company owned by Neymar’s father, Neymar Santos. But investigations in Spain later showed that Barcelona spent nearly 83.3 million euros (£64 million) to buy the Brazilian.
Former and current Barcelona presidents and representatives of Santos were also questioned. All parties denied any wrongdoing.