Brazil forward Neymar will stand trial next week on fraud and corruption charges stemming from his 2013 transfer to Barcelona from Santos. The complainant, Brazilian investment firm DIS, requests a five-year prison sentence. The trial begins on Monday in Barcelona.
Along with Neymar, the defendants in the trial are his parents, the two clubs, former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
The case stems from a complaint filed by DIS, a Brazilian company that owned 40% of Neymar’s rights while he was at Santos. It claims it was cheated out of its rightful share of the transfer because the actual value of the transaction was understated.
Neymar, a key member of Brazil’s World Cup team that will compete in Qatar next month, has denied the allegations. however, he lost an appeal in Spain’s High Court in 2017, paving the way for the trial.
Neymar and his family’s defendant in the trial, Baker McKenzie told Reuters they will argue that the Spanish courts “lack jurisdiction to prosecute the Neymar family” since the transfer involved Brazilian nationals in Brazil.
DIS also wants Rosell and Bartomeu imprisoned and fined 149 million euros ($144 million). Prosecutors in Spain are seeking a two-year prison sentence for Neymar as well as a ten-million-euro fine, as well as a five-year prison sentence for Rosell as well as an 8.4-million-euro fine for the Spanish club.
“Neymar’s rights have not been sold to the highest bidder. There were clubs that offered up to 60 million euros,” DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser told a news conference in Barcelona on Thursday.
The player is not a service or a commodity: Baker McKenzie
“The rules of free competition do not operate since the transfer from one club to another depends on the free will of the player. The player is not a service or a commodity. He is a person of his own free will,” McKenzie’s spokesman told Reuters.