Neymar faces calls for prison sentence
Paris Saint-German star Neymar is facing calls to be jailed for a period of five years ahead of a trial next week to determine if he is guilty of fraud and corruption related to his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona.
Brazilian investment firm DIS held the rights to 40% of Neymar’s transfer value at the time of the move, but argued that the fee paid by Barcelona to Santos undervalued the player’s true worth, leading to them calling for a custodial sentence for the superstar footballer.
It was reported at the time that Barcelona paid around $55 million for Neymar, with around $39 million of that going directly to Neymar’s family to seal the deal.
DIS is said to have received $16.6 million for its 40% stake in Neymar from an initial investment of just under $2 million, which was purchased when the player was 17 years old.
However, the company has argued that the nature of how the transfer was arranged limited the total sum which it feels it was due for its financial investment in the footballer.
Other defendants in the case include Neymar’s parents, both Santos and Barcelona, former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as ex-Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
DIS is also demanding prison sentences for Bartomeu and Rosell, as well as a heavy fine.
Neymar will be required to attend the first day of the heading in person on Monday, though it remains unclear if he will be asked to appear for each day of the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.
“Neymar’s rights have not been sold to the highest bidder,” DIS said of Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona.
“There were clubs that offered up to €60 million euros ($58.3 million).”
In addition to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea also registered an interest in a deal to sign Neymar, who would later move to French giants Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee of $215 million in 2017.
Spanish prosecutors, meanwhile, are understood to be asking for a two-year prison sentence for Neymar and a substantial fine, and five years for Rosell.
Baker McKenzie, a lawyer representing Neymar’s family, argued that Spanish courts have no jurisdiction for matters in Brazil, and also that the alleged crimes are not punishable by law in Neymar’s home country, where they are alleged to have occurred.
McKenzie said in a statement that “corruption between private individuals” applies only to “competition of products and services between companies,” adding that Neymar is neither a service nor a company.