Neymar is put on trial in Spain a month before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar. The Paris Saint-Germain forward may spend up to two years behind bars if he is found guilty of the allegations against him.
There are allegations of irregularities in Neymar’s move to Barcelona more than a decade ago and the trial is set to begin in Spain a month before November’s World Cup in Qatar. After years of legal wrangling, the 30-year-old star’s move from Brazil’s Santos in 2013 is finally set to go to court.
The trial by Spanish prosecutors begins on Monday in Barcelona and suspects include Neymar, his parents, both clubs, former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
The trial is due to end on October 31, just over three weeks before the World Cup starts on November 20; the Paris Saint-Germain star will lead Brazil in their Group G opener against Serbia on November 24.
Why Neymar will stand trial and could face possible jail time?
Neymar, a key component of the Brazilian squad headed to next month’s World Cup in Qatar, has disputed the charge. However, he lost an appeal in Spain’s High Court in 2017, clearing the way for the trial to proceed.
The case was originally initiated by DIS, which had 40 percent of the rights to the Brazilian international when he was playing with Santos. They claim that Barcelona paid much less than what the player was really worth when they acquired him.
Despite Barcelona’s claim that the deal cost €57.1 million, investigators estimate that it really set them back at least €83 million. According to the club’s statement, they sent out €40 million to N&N, a firm controlled by the forward’s family, and €17.1 million to the Brazilian club, of which €6.8 million were provided to DIS.
DIS claims that the trio of Neymar, Barcelona, and Santos intentionally misrepresented the transfer cost in order to reduce their financial gain. Since the plaintiff, DIS, is based in Brazil, Neymar’s attorneys argue that the charge of “private corruption,” with which their client is charged, does not apply.
The former Barcelona superstar faces two years in prison and a fine of €10 million from Spanish authorities, while Rosell faces five years in prison, and the Blaugrana face a fine of €8.4 million. In addition, DIS is seeking prison time for Rosell and Bartomeu as well as a total fine of €149 million.