Lawyers drop Neymar rape case

SAO PAULO • Lawyers for a woman who accused Brazil footballer Neymar of rape are no longer representing her because of contradictions in her story, broadcaster Globo TV reported on Monday.

They claimed the woman initially told them she had consensual sex with Neymar, the world's most expensive player at €222 million (S$341.6 million), in a Paris hotel in May, and that he then became violent and assaulted her.

But the Sao Paulo-based firm, Fernandes e Abreu, said that in the official complaint she gave to Brazilian police, she "described what had happened as 'rape', which is a completely different allegation".

Neymar posted a video on his Instagram page on Saturday vehemently denying he had raped the woman, with his father also claiming the Paris Saint-Germain player is the victim of a blackmail attempt.

In the seven-minute video, he showed a string of racy WhatsApp messages with his accuser.

Rio police on Sunday said they had launched an investigation into the publication of intimate information on social media concerning the woman as her name was briefly visible in the now-deleted video.

According to British tabloid The Sun, she works as a photographer and has a five-year-old son.

The 27-year-old Neymar is now with the Brazil team preparing for the June 14-July 7 Copa America on home soil, and national coach Tite insisted on Monday that he "would not" judge the "indispensable" player.

He said: "I understand the seriousness of the issue. But there must be time for people to be able weigh the facts. I'm not going to let myself judge the facts.

"In the three years I have been dealing with Neymar, all the personal issues we have dealt with have been fair and truthful. He is an extraordinary player."

Neymar, who has been replaced as Brazil captain by Dani Alves for the Copa, has reportedly been summoned to appear before investigators in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

But as he is set to be in the city of Porto Alegre that day to prepare for Sunday's friendly against Honduras, the Globo Esporte website has suggested that he could give evidence the following day before returning to Sao Paulo, where the team are based.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Lawyers drop Neymar rape case'. Print Edition | Subscribe