Football: Neymar faces two-year jail, $15m fine for corruption

Neymar's court case was initiated by Brazilian company DIS, which believed it had been cheated of its real transfer share because part of Neymar's transfer fee was concealed by Barcelona, Santos and his family.
Neymar's court case was initiated by Brazilian company DIS, which believed it had been cheated of its real transfer share because part of Neymar's transfer fee was concealed by Barcelona, Santos and his family.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MADRID • Spanish prosecutors have recommended that Brazilian football star Neymar be handed a two-year jail sentence and a fine of €10 million (S$15 million) for alleged corrupt practices in his transfer to Barcelona, a court filing revealed yesterday.

Prosecutors are also seeking a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell - who resigned over the scandal in 2014 - on counts of fraud and corruption.

However, they dropped charges against current president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The case was initiated by a complaint from Brazilian investment company DIS, which owned 40 per cent of Neymar's sporting rights at the time of his transfer from Santos in 2013.

In presenting their case on Wednesday, DIS called for five-year sentences for Neymar and his parents, eight years for Rosell and Bartomeu and a mammoth €195 million fine for Barca.

Sentences of two years or less are habitually suspended for first time offenders in Spain.

DIS also recommended that Neymar be banned from playing football during any judicial sentence.

Barcelona initially announced the cost of the move at €57.1 million, €17.1 million of which was paid to Santos, with the remaining €40 million paid to N&N, a company owned by Neymar's family.

However, Spanish authorities believe the real cost escalated to €83.3 million.

DIS received €6.8 million, 40 per cent of the fee paid to Santos.

The company believes it was cheated of its real share because part of the transfer fee was concealed by Barcelona, Santos and the Neymar family.

DIS also argued that a pre-contract agreement between Neymar and Barca signed in 2011 impeded other clubs from making offers for the player, affecting the value of the transfer fee.

The decision is another blow to the image of the Spanish champions and Neymar himself, who signed a lucrative new contract to remain at Barca till 2021 in June.

Barca hoped to bring an end to the murky affair when the club agreed to pay a €5.5-million fine in a deal with prosecutors in June to settle a separate case and ensure the club avoided trial on tax-evasion charges over the transfer.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2016, with the headline 'Neymar faces two-year jail, $15m fine for corruption'. Print Edition | Subscribe