Barca pays $18.6 million to tax office over Neymar

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MADRID (AP) -- Barcelona paid 13.55 million euros ($18.6 million) to Spanish tax authorities to cover any potential irregularities in its signing of Neymar, while maintaining its innocence of fraud charges.

The Spanish champion said in a statement Monday it had paid the amount to cover any "eventual interpretations that could come out of the contracts signed relating to the transfer of Neymar. Meanwhile, we are convinced of the legality of our initial fulfilment relating to our tax obligations."

Barcelona's actions raised the cost of Neymar's transfer to more than 100 million euros ($138 million). The Catalan club initially said it had paid 57.1 million euros ($74 million) for the Brazilian forward.

That sum does not include bonus payments from Barcelona or the 22-year-old's salary.

Spanish tax authorities charged Barcelona with fraud on Thursday, alleging it swindled the nation of 9.1 million euros ($12.5 million) through payments to varying companies and false contracts.

Barcelona said it had "scrupulously" met its financial obligations in signing the player from Brazilian club Santos and it will continue to work with the state authority in the matter.

Neymar's signing forced the resignation of Sandro Rosell as club president last month after one club member's petition to learn more about the intricate details of the signing.

Rosell has preached financial prudence while signing lucrative sponsorship deals that in the 2011-12 season put commerical advertising on the front of Barcelona's jersey for the first time in the history of an institution that considers itself "more than a club" and a symbol of Catalan values.

Rosell is being investigated by the same Spanish court that issued the fraud charges against the club.

Of the initial transfer fee, Brazilian club Santos received 17.1 million euros ($23 million) while Neymar's father, who also goes by Neymar, earned 40 million euros ($55 million).

Barcelona said the decision to make the payment came after an emergency board meeting Sunday.