One month before the start of the Qatar World Cup, the Brazilian star Neymar has an appointment with the past starting Monday that will return him to Barcelona, where the trial begins for the irregularities in the controversial signing that led him to the Catalan club in 2013.
The patience of DIS, the Brazilian company that owned part of its economic rights when it was still a promising Santos attacker, has been rewarded and the Barcelona Court will hold between Monday and October 31 the oral trial derived from the lawsuit filed in 2015.
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The Paris Saint-Germain attacker, who from November 20 will once again lead the ‘Seleçao’ in the World Cup, is accused of a crime of corruption in business by the Prosecutor’s Office, which asks for him two years in prison and ten million euros (9.7 million dollars) fine.
On the defendants’ bench will be accompanied by his parents, the former presidents of FC Barcelona Sandro Rosell – for whom the Prosecutor’s Office is asking for five years in prison for corruption and fraud – and Josep Maria Bartomeu, as well as the former manager of Santos Odilio Rodrigues Filho.
The other defendants are three legal entities: FC Barcelona, Santos FC and the company founded by the player’s parents to manage his career.
Neymar, who six years ago declared that it was his father who handled his affairs, must appear in Barcelona on Monday, like all the accused, although there is still no official confirmation. According to the initial schedule, his statement is scheduled for Friday, October 21 or 28, when the six accused individuals must testify.
Another day of great interest will be Tuesday 18, when the accusation has asked the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Pérez, to testify, who will intervene by videoconference, to explain how the alleged pre-agreement signed in 2011 between Barça and the player influenced the market .
– Lattice –
Despite the fact that FC Barcelona initially estimated the signing of Neymar at 57.1 million euros (40 million for his family and 17.1 for Santos), the Spanish justice estimated that it reached at least 83 million.
For DIS – a sports investment company owned by the Brazilian supermarket group Sonda – Barça, Neymar and later Santos joined forces to hide the real amount of the operation through other contracts from which they were left out.
The company, owner since 2009 of 40% of the soccer player’s financial rights, received 6.8 million euros of the 17.1 officially paid to the Brazilian club.
“Neymar Junior, with the connivance of his parents and FC Barcelona, and its leaders at the time, and of Santos FC in a second moment, defrauded the legitimate economic interests of DIS, defrauding him”, highlighted this Thursday Paulo Nasser, lawyer of the company.
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Feeling doubly harmed, both for not having received their share of the real transfer and for the exclusivity contract signed by Neymar and Barça before his official signing – which prevented other clubs from bidding for the striker -, DIS now requests that he be reinstated the 35 million euros that it estimates to have lost.
As a private accusation, the group also asks for five years in prison for Neymar and that he pay a fine of 149 million euros to the State, in addition to another five years in prison for Rosell and Bartomeu with fines of 195 million.
– Turbulent relationship –
Neymar’s lawyers argue, on their side, that their client did not commit any crime, since the 40 million euros corresponded to a “legal and usual signing bonus in the football market”, according to their lines of defense, which they also question that Spain has jurisdiction to deal with the case.
This long-awaited trial is known as “Neymar 2”, since “Neymar 1”, who settled an accusation of tax fraud in the signing, was closed with an agreement between the Prosecutor’s Office and Barça, which agreed to pay a fine of 5 .5 million euros in 2016.
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The turbulent story between the club and the Brazilian did not end, however, with his abrupt departure in 2017. Neymar and Barcelona faced each other in court again in 2020, this time over the claim for a portion of the renewal premium that he received. Neymar remained to be charged, which was rejected, and with another conviction for the footballer at stake for breach of contract.
Finally, the entity and the 10 of the ‘Seleçao’ reached an agreement “in a friendly way” last year to close all pending legal proceedings.