BRAZIL: Neymar’s trial over his transfer from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 entered its final day on Monday, just three days after Spanish prosecutors made a major U-turn and dropped all their fraud charges against the footballer.
The 30-year-old will be permitted to present final arguments to the Barcelona court along with the eight additional defendants, including his parents, who handle his business, and two former Barca presidents.
The court has permitted Neymar and his parents to testify via video conference. Neymar, who currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, will take on Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Despite the bombshell dropped by the prosecutors on Friday, the case did not collapse because the plaintiff, Brazilian corporation DIS, continued to claim that the parties involved engaged in fraud and corruption.
As a co-owner of Neymar’s player rights, DIS contends it should have received 40% of the money it requested. The business claimed that the 17 million euros that Barcelona and Santos first disclosed as the transfer fee between the clubs—when the actual cost was closer to 82 million euros—were the only ones from which it earned its rightful portion.
At first, DIS sought five-year prison terms for Neymar, his father, and former Barcelona executives Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu.
Later, the Brazilian firm called for a revised prison term of 2.5 years for Neymar and 4 years for the player’s father, who is also the player’s agent, while keeping the charges against him on the table.
Additionally, DIS is requesting a 195 million euro fine and 34 million euros ($33.6 million) in damages from the defendants to be paid to the Spanish government.
Neymar, a key member of the Brazil team that will travel to the World Cup in Qatar in November, was initially targeted by Spanish prosecutors for a two-year prison sentence and a punishment of 10 million euros (USD 9.9 million).
Additionally, he wanted Rosell to serve for five years and Odilio Rodrigues, the previous president of Santos, for three.
After listening to Rosell and Bartomeu’s Friday testimony, the state’s attorney decided to withdraw the charges. He claimed he did not observe any proof that a crime had been committed.
State’s attorney Luis Garcia suggested that a civil court, which adjudicates cases involving people or organisations, was the appropriate venue for DIS’s allegations.
When he announced he was dropping the charges on Friday, he said, “DIS has the right to feel that Neymar’s transfer should have given greater profit, but I think it has picked the wrong jurisdiction.”
On Monday, DIS called Neymar and his father traitors for attempting to conceal the transfer’s value. It stated that it regretted the prosecutor’s decision to drop the charges against Neymar.
All of the suspects, including former Barça presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, reject any wrongdoing.
For at least three weeks, a decision and sentence are not expected.
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