Spanish prosecutors want Brazilian star Neymar tried over fraud allegedly committed during his 2013 transfer to FC Barcelona, a judicial source said yesterday.
Prosecutors from Spain’s top criminal court accuse the striker, his father, Barca’s ex-president Sandro Rosell and the club itself of concealing the cost of the multi-million-euro transfer from Brazilian investment fund DIS.
DIS held 40 percent of the 24-year-old’s sporting rights when he played at Brazil’s Santos club and has claimed it was cheated of its real share of the transfer due to parallel contracts that Barcelona and Santos allegedly used to hide the total cost.
The case first came to light after fans and members of Barcelona launched an internal complaint, leading eventually to the resignation of Rossell.
The transfer deal was originally valued at 57.1mn euros ($64.9mn) by Barca, 40mn of which was paid to the N&N company owned by the player’s father.
Santos — where Neymar started his career — received 17.1mn, 6.8mn euros of which went to DIS.
However, Spanish judicial authorities have estimated the number of simultaneous deals in the transfer amounted to at least 83.3 million euros — with the difference allegedly going to Neymar and his family, and Santos.
The Brazilian football star and his father have in the past defended themselves in the media.
“Before saying nonsense — that we hid this, or hid that — they should prove it,” Neymar told Brazilian TV station Globo in February, when he was called to give evidence to a judge in Madrid.
“My father is doing everything to ensure that I can just focus on playing football. He handles the books. But in the moment when you see someone you love suffering, it starts to hurt.”
Prosecutors want Neymar, his father Neymar Da Silva Santos, Rosell and FC Barcelona itself to be tried for “private corruption among individuals”.
They also wants Rosell, FC Barcelona, Brazil’s Santos and its president to be tried for “fraud.”
Neymar’s mother Nadine, meanwhile, could also be tried for having profited financially from the alleged fraudulous transfer.
The Brazilian star has already given evidence to a judge in Spain as part of the probe, as has his father.
Rosell and current Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu were also called to testify in February but refused, insisting instead on the version of events they had given for a previous hearing.
Investigators in Brazil have also launched proceedings against the football star and his father over the same case.
Brazil’s federal prosecution service has accused them of forging contracts to pay less tax.
Last September, Brazilian authorities froze $47mn worth of the player’s assets pending investigations.
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