Neymar’s Trial Ends After Charges Are Dropped
After Spanish prosecutors last week withdrew their fraud allegations against the player, Neymar, a Brazilian superstar, is now likely to have his trial in Spain over his 2013 sale to Barcelona concluded on Monday.
The eight defendants, including the 30-year-old and his parents, who handle his business, as well as two former Barça presidents, will be permitted to present closing arguments to the Barcelona court.
The court has given Neymar, who currently represents Paris Saint-Germain and will take on Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday, as well as his parents permission to speak via videoconference.
Neymar, a crucial member of the Brazil team that will travel to the World Cup in Qatar in November, had been targeted by Spanish prosecutors for a two-year prison sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($9.9 million).
However, in an unexpected move, the state prosecutor dropped all accusations against Neymar and the other defendants, claiming there was insufficient proof of a crime’s commission presented in court.
However, the trial is still going on because Brazilian investment company DIS, which co-filed the lawsuit, has continued to claim that the parties engaged in fraud and corruption.
The dispute revolves around Neymar’s high-profile move to Barcelona over ten years ago from Santos, the Brazilian club where he first gained international recognition.
At the time of Neymar’s departure to Europe, the proprietors of a grocery chain owned DIS, which held a 40% stake in his sporting rights.
According to a 2015 lawsuit brought by DIS in Spain, Neymar, Barcelona, and the Brazilian club conspired to conceal the exact cost of his transfer, depriving the company of its rightful financial interests.
A business called N&N, which looks after Neymar’s affairs, received 40 million euros from the deal, according to Barca, while Santos received 17.1 million euros, of which 6.8 million euros went to DIS.
The real value, according to Spanish prosecutors, was at least 83 million euros.
DIS is seeking to recover 35 million euros.
On the second day of his trial, which began on October 18, Neymar admitted to the court that he did not recall if he participated in the discussions around his move to Barca and that he just signed the paperwork that his father had given him.
He testified in court that “my father has always been in charge.” I sign anything he instructs me to.
All of the other suspects, including former Barça presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, are innocent of all charges.
According to state prosecutor Luis Garcia, a civil court, which handles cases involving people or organizations, would be the appropriate venue for DIS’s claims.
He said in court on Friday when he announced he was withdrawing proceedings, “DIS has the right to feel that Neymar’s move should have generated greater profit, but I think it has picked the wrong jurisdiction.”
In a few weeks, the court is likely to issue its decision.