PokerStars Team SportStar, Neymar Jr., has shaven off his locks in the midst of a tax evasion scandal that has resulted in a Brazilian judge freezing assets worth £31m.
PokerStars Team SportsStar Neymar Jr. has been in the news this week. I’m not talking about his new look Samson hairstyle, but the £31m in frozen assets that a Brazilian judge has ordered over alleged tax evasion.
The 23-year old Barcelona and Brazilian star joined PokerStars in May; a signing that even eclipsed that of Grand Slam tennis legend Rafael Nadal. Neymar Jr. is a young man who love poker, a point proven when he turned up at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), to show some support for his friend Felipe Ramos, and also played in the main event and side event at the recent European Poker Tour (EPT) Festival in Barcelona.
According to press reports circulating the globe, Brazilian Judge Carlos Muta, has allegedly frozen assets belonging to the PokerStars Team SportStar to the tune of £31m. This includes property and vehicles, although it’s believed he has access to his bank accounts and other liquid assets.
The accusations levied at the young star belong to a timeframe of two-years between 2011 & 2013. Judge Muta stated that during this time Neymar Jr. only declared £3.3m during that time, dropping £10m short of what the Sao Paulo federal court believe he owed.
The undeclared funds seem to emanate from his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona, and he is not alone in the finger pointing. Back in the springtime Barcelona President, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and the previous incumbent, Sandro Rosell, were also singled out for tax evasion after signing Neymar Jr. from the Brazilian club Santos.
Rosell said the transfer was £42m, but Bartomeu would later admit that the final figure rose to somewhere in the region of £63m once additional payments made to his family and Neymar Jr. were taken into account. A quick Google search ranks Neymar’s transfer as the fourth highest in the world. The final figure quoted is £71.5m.
With £3.3m declared, and £10m outstanding, why has the court has frozen assets worth £31m? According to press reports the Judge said he wanted to ensure he captured enough funds to cover any potential fines.
Neymar Jr. will survive come what may. Press reports have suggested that a jail sentence is extremely unlikely, as long as Neymar Jr. pays up, and as Forbes estimated his fortune at $31m per year it shouldn’t be a problem.
Neymar Jr. was the subject of a potential transfer to Manchester United during the January transfer window. During a recent interview with ESPN the Barcelona star admitted that the interest was there, but no formal offer was ever made by the boys from the rainiest city in England.
The newly bald star had better shake this controversy off. Lionel Messi has been sidelined for 7-8 weeks with a knee injury, suffered playing a home game against Las Palmas, meaning the Brazilian will have to take over the role as the club’s number one star.