The Spanish prosecutor withdraws the charges against Neymar and others – Digital Journal


Spanish prosecutors have dropped charges against Neymar in a trial over his move to Barcelona in 2013 – Copyright DANISH DEFENSE/AFP Handout

Prosecutors in Spain on Friday dropped corruption and fraud charges against soccer star Neymar and others accused in a trial over the Brazilian’s transfer from Santos to Barcelona in 2013.

In a dramatic move, the prosecutor announced the “withdrawal of charges against all defendants and for all allegations” they had faced.

Neymar, 30, had said he did not recall whether he was involved in the negotiations that led to a sealed deal in 2011 with Barcelona for his transfer two years later to the Spanish side of Brazilian club Santos.

Spanish prosecutors had asked for a two-year prison sentence for Neymar, a key member of the Brazil team that will travel to the World Cup in Qatar next month, and the payment of a fine of 10 million euros (9, 7 million dollars).

The withdrawal of charges is the culmination of a years-long legal saga over Neymar’s high-profile transfer to Europe.

He then joined Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222m transfer in 2017.

Neymar had been one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, including his parents and his company N&N, which handles his affairs.

Even if convicted, prison sentences of two years or less are never applied in Spain to a first-time offender.

Investigators began looking into the transfer to Barcelona after a complaint filed in 2015 by DIS, a Brazilian company that owned 40 percent of the player’s sports rights when he was at Santos, the club where he rose to global fame.

The firm claims that Neymar, Barcelona and the Brazilian club colluded to mask the true cost of his transfer, thereby defrauding him of his legitimate financial interests.

Barca said the transfer was valued at €57.1m, with €40m paid to N&N and €17.1m to Santos, of which €6.8m was given to DIS.

Spanish prosecutors believe the actual value was at least €83 million.

DIS seeks to recover 35 million euros.

– ‘I sign what they send me’ –

Neymar gave a statement earlier this month, telling the court that he had done nothing illegal and had only signed documents given to him by his father.

“My father has always been in charge” of contract negotiations, he said. “I sign what he tells me.”

DIS also claims financial damages for the 2011 pre-contract agreement with Barca, alleging that it prevented other clubs from making offers and affected the value of the transfer fee.

But the player’s father, Neymar Sr, told the court that the talks had been authorized by the Brazilian club at the time and that “it was Santos’ responsibility” to inform the DIS, and not his.

In addition to Neymar, his father and mother Nadine Goncalves, two former Barca presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, and former Santos boss Odilio Rodrigues Filho are among those charged.

Neymar’s lawyers insist their client is innocent, saying Barca’s €40m payment was a “legal signing bonus which is normal in the football transfer market”.

Neymar is having one of his best seasons since joining PSG and is expected to play a key role for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar.

He has scored nine league goals in 11 games and provided seven assists.

He is expected to guide the Selecao to their World Cup Group G opener against Serbia on November 24 as the South American giants begin their quest to win the trophy for the first time since 2002, and sixth overall.


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