Barcelona forward Neymar to stand trial for fraud over alleged transfer irregularities
Published 07/06/2016 | 14:27
Spanish prosecutors want Neymar to stand trial for fraud because of alleged irregularities involving his transfer to Barcelona three years ago.
Neymar and his father, who is also his agent, committed fraud by trying to hide the real amount of his transfer in order to pay a lower commission to the investment group which owned part of his rights at the time, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
A judge will analyze the prosecutors' demand and decide whether to install a trial. Neymar and his father could face a prison sentence of up to two years.
They maintained their innocence when they appeared before a judge in Madrid in February.
Also this year, Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano was handed a suspended one-year prison sentence for not paying nearly £1.2m in taxes for 2011-12.
Brazilian investment group DIS claims it was financially damaged because Barcelona and Neymar allegedly withheld the real amount of the player's transfer fee from Santos in 2013, receiving a smaller compensation than it was entitled to.
Santos officially received £13.3m for Neymar's transfer to Barcelona, but prosecutors said the total amount paid by the Spanish club was £19.5m, meaning DIS would be entitled to an additional £2.5m.
Prosecutors said the difference comes from payments made by Barcelona for the future acquisitions of other players, as well as partnerships for friendly matches between the clubs.
According to court documents, DIS paid 5 million reals (£1m) for 40 per cent of Neymar's rights in 2009.
Barcelona said the Neymar transfer cost the club a total of £44.4m, with £13.2m going to the club and £31.1m going to a company owned by Neymar's father. Investigations in Spain have claimed that Barcelona spent more than £62.2m to acquire the Brazilian.
Court documents said Neymar's contract with Santos, which was valid until July 2014, had a buy-out clause of £50.6m, but the club authorized Neymar's father to begin negotiating with other clubs before the contract ended.
They reached a deal with Barcelona, and the club paid £7.8m in advance to Neymar's father in 2011 to guarantee the player's signing.