Transfer from Neymar to PSG search of the French Ministry

Transfer from Neymar to PSG: search of the French Ministry of Finance on Monday

Searches were carried out at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance on Monday as part of the investigation into suspected tax relief granted to the PSG club when transferring Brazilian striker Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, we learned from a source on Thursday close to the matter.

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These operations, uncovered by the website Mediapart, were carried out by police officers from the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Tax Fraud of the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation at the premises of the General Directorate of Public Finances, told AFP a second source close to the matter.

Several departments of the General Directorate of Public Finances were searched by investigators, including, according to Mediapart, the office of the Director General, until recently held by Jérôme Fournel, who has since been appointed chief of staff to French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.

These suspicions, on which investigations are just beginning, are part of an investigation carried out since September 2022 by investigative judges in connection with influence operations attributed to the club's former communications director, Jean-Martial Ribes, 57 years old.

Justice questions whether the former vice-president (Emmanuel Macron's party) of the National Assembly, Hugues Renson, tried to get “tax benefits” from the government for PSG while the Brazilian's transfer was for 222 million euros – the most expensive in history Superstar in the capital club.

In an investigative report sent to the investigative judge on November 21, uncovered by Libération and consulted by AFP, the National Police Inspectorate questions possible “influence peddling” linked to Mr Renson.

According to this report, which covers ten years of messages with him found in Mr. Ribes' phone, the club's former communications director “(…) clearly requested (…) services” from whoever was the club's advisor was former French President Jacques Chirac.

The former vice president of the National Assembly claimed on July 24 that he had conveyed a “PSG issue” to Gérald Darmanin, then French finance minister, which appeared to be about taxation of the transfer.

At the time, the minister was publicly pleased “about the taxes that Neymar was able to pay in France” and had assured that his services would carefully analyze the financial terms of the transfer. The historic deal worth €222 million was completed and announced on August 3rd.

When asked, those around Gérald Darmanin did not want to respond to this search. Gérald Darmanin, now French Interior Minister, was Minister for Action and Public Finance from 2017 to 2020.