French taxman excited by Neymar windfall
PARIS (Reuters) - The French taxman is delighted about the prospect of Brazilian soccer star Neymar joining Paris St Germain, the minister in charge of France's public accounts said on Thursday.
The striker is expected to join the French club on a wage of around 550,000 euros ($651,420.00) a week after a record-breaking 222 million euros transfer from Spanish giants Barcelona.
Le Figaro newspaper took a stab at estimating the possible tax and social security payments Neymar's salary could net the state, coming up with a figure of 37.5 million euros ($44.39 million) a year.
"The minister of public accounts is delighted by the extra tax income Neymar will pay in France if he joins a French club," the minister in question, Gerald Darmanin, told France Inter radio station.
"It's better that this footballer pays his tax here instead of elsewhere."
Neymar's expected arrival in France and the huge wage Paris St Germain's Qatari owners will pay him was music to the ears of a minister whose radio interview was mainly a defence of unpopular government spending cuts due to the country's yawning budget deficit.
The 25-year-old Neymar has for some time been battling accusations of tax cheating and corruption in Spain, where he was recently cleared of fraud, but still faces a corruption trial in connection with the value of his 2013 transfer to Barcelona from Brazilian club Santos.
Asked whether the special legal structures were likely to lower Neymar's tax exposure in France, where the top rate of income tax is 45 percent, Darmanin said: "Don't worry, the country's interests, and its financial interests in particular, will be well taken care of."
Darmanin was defending a government decision to shrink local government spending by what he said was about 300 million euros - roughly equivalent to the Neymar transfer contract price of 222 million euros plus three years of his salary.
($1 = 0.8443 euros)
(Reporting By Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus and Pritha Sarkar)