Brazil court freezes €42m in Neymar assets over Barcelona transfer

A Brazilian court has frozen assets of Barcelona star Neymar, his family and related businesses valued at 188.8 million Brazilian reals ($48 million, €42 million).

The Sao Paulo federal court said on Friday that the 23-year-old is alleged to have evaded 63 million reals in Brazil taxes (almost $16m or €14m) between 2011 and 2013.

The Brazil team captain moved in 2013 from Brazilian club Santos to Spain's Barcelona in a transfer whose payment is also under investigation by Spanish tax authorities.

In a statement, Judge Carlos Muta said that Neymar declared assets worth only 19.6 million reals (a little less than $5m).

The judge says Neymar "is solely responsible for the income declaration.''

The court has ordered that 150 percent of the funds be frozen to ensure the payment of interests and fines for the alleged tax evasion, judicial sources in Brazil told Correio Braziliense on Friday.

The court said on Friday that it would also freeze assets of Neymar Sr. as well as the following companies: Neymar Sport e Marketing, N & N Consultoria Esportiva e Empresarial and N & N Administração de Bens Participações e Investimentos.

The court alleges that the taxes are more than 30 percent of what was initially declared by Neymar and could be as much as €55m.

However, Iagaro Jung Martins, an auditor with Brazil's federal tax agency, said that Neymar isn't likely to go to jail if he pays what he owes.

"He will be able to discuss the frozen assets in a civil court,'' Martins told The Associated Press. "But legislation in Brazil isn't too harsh. If Neymar pays what he owes, he is very likely to be free from any other punishment.''

Contacted by the AP, Neymar's agent, Wagner Ribeiro, referred all question to Neymar's father, Neymar da Silva Santos.

The elder Neymar was not immediately available for comment.

In May, a Spanish court alleged Barcelona club president Josep Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell evaded millions in taxes after signing Neymar.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.