Neymar set for trial over fraud charges

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Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between SL Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on October 5, 2022.

 


Neymar will stand trial next week on fraud and corruption charges over his transfer to Barcelona from Santos in 2013 with the complainants, Brazilian investment firm DIS, demanding a five-year jail term for the striker.

Along with Neymar, the defendants in the trial being brought by Spanish prosecutors, which begins in Barcelona on Monday, are his parents, the two clubs, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.

The case stems from a complaint by DIS, which owned 40 per cent of the rights to the Brazilian international when he was at Santos.

It argues it lost out on its rightful cut from the transfer because the true value of the deal was understated.

Neymar has denied the allegations but lost an appeal in Spain's High Court in 2017, which paved the way for the trial.

DIS is also requesting jail terms for Rosell and Bartomeu, and a 149 million euros ($A232 million) fine.

Spanish prosecutors want a two-year prison term for Neymar and the payment of a 10 million euros ($A16 million) fine and a five-year jail term for Rosell plus an 8.4 million euros ($A13.1 million) fine for the Spanish club.

DIS acquired 40 per cent of Neymar's rights when he was aged 17 in exchange for 2 million euros ($A3.1 million). It argues that the player's sale to Barcelona was well below his real market value.

Barcelona said at the time of Neymar's move that the transfer figure was 57.1 million euros ($A89.1 million), of which 40 million euros ($A62 million) was paid to Neymar's family.

DIS received a 40 per cent share of the remaining 17.1 million that was paid to Santos.

"Neymar's rights have not been sold to the highest bidder. There were clubs that offered up to 60 million euros ($A94 million)," DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser told a news conference in Barcelona on Thursday.

The court in Barcelona where the trial will be held said Neymar will have to appear in-person on Monday for the first day but it is unclear if he will be asked to stay for the whole hearing that could go on for two weeks.

Neymar, his parents, Rosell and Bartomeu will start their testimony next Friday.

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