By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to recently released Brazilian Federal Court documents, international Brazilian football (soccer) superstar Neymar has brought a lawsuit against the Brazilian federal government alleging that it leaked confidential details to the media related to an earlier tax evasion case involving the star forward and his family.
Neymar filed the complaint in May after it was revealed in March that he’d been ordered to pay over US$50 million in fines and back-taxes covering 2012 to 2014 in relation to his failure to report earnings from his contracts with Santos, Barcelona, and Nike.
Late last week, the judge presiding over the case, Federal Court Judge Eduardo Santos da Rocha Penteado ordered the government to release the names of all employees who had access to the investigation into the star forward’s financial misgivings.
According to the website UOL, which obtained copies of the federal court documents, in his complaint, Neymar asks Brazil’s Tribunal Regional Federal da Primeira Região (Regional Federal Court of the First Region) for compensation for the government’s leak of confidential information, as well as requests that the government “adopt effective measures to prevent further leaks” and “punish those responsible for the leak.”
In his order, Judge Penteado found that the evidence “suggests that the press was given access to information prematurely, that is to say, even before interested tax administrative proceedings could be started.”
The Judge ordered the government to “inform the Court within fifteen days, the names and function of registered staff who had access to the [Neymar] file, as well as to provide a procedural breakdown of the progress (dates and events).”
In addition to Neymar, the other plaintiffs in the case against the federal government are Neymar’s parents and their three companies, Neymar Sport e Marketing, N & N Consultoria, and N & N Administracao de Bens. Unsurprisingly, all the plaintiffs in this case were defendants in the earlier tax evasion case.
In the federal tax evasion case against the Barcelona forward and his family, federal prosecutors had accused Neymar of using his family businesses to avoid paying US$63.5 million in taxes between 2012 and 2014.
In that case, Brazil’s Receita Federal (Internal Revenue Service) found Neymar guilty of tax fraud and ordered him to pay US$52.1 million in fines and back-taxes.