Neymar testifies in fraud and corruption trial
PSG star Neymar is accused of attempted fraud and private corruption in his 2013 move to Barcelona but denies any involvement in negotiations.
Brazilian Paris Saint Germain star Neymar is on trial in Barcelona. A Brazilian company called DIS owned 40% of Neymar’s rights at the time. Neymar now stands trial for his alleged involvement in orchestrating a network of unofficial payments to hide the final price of his transfer from Santos to Barcelona, and eventually cut DIS’ share out of the deal. Neymar has testified in court, denying the allegations and saying that he only signed documents that his father told him to sign. The other suspects who are accused of being involved are Neymar’s parents (Neymar da Silva and Nadine Goncalves), former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
“I was not part of the negotiations,” Neymar told the court. “Regarding that, it is my dad who always took care of that and will always take care of that. I just sign whatever he asks me to sign.”
What do Neymar’s lawyers say?
Neymar’s lawyers are claiming that the €40 million the club paid to Neymar and N&N, the company which manages Neymar’s affairs, was a “legal signing bonus” and that the Spanish authorities do not have the jurisdiction to make these accusations as the transfer involved Brazilian nationals within Brazil.
What is the punishment if Neymar is convicted?
If he is found guilty, Spanish prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison sentence for Neymar and his father for corruption as well as potentially a a €10 million fine for Neymar. His mother is facing a one-year sentence. Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell faces the strictest punishment - a five-year prison sentence and €10 million fine for both corruption and attempted fraud, plus a three-year suspension from any commercial or business activity. Former Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu also faces a five-year sentence for corruption and fraud and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues faces a three-year sentence for attempted fraud.
Neymar now plays for Paris Saint-Germain after transferring in 2017 on a world record €222 million deal. He also plays for Brazil’s national team and is set to play with them in the World Cup in Qatar next month.
On Monday, Neymar spent two hours on trial after the case date was moved up to avoid clashing with his commitments to PSG. He was excused from the trial on Monday after his lawyers said he needed to rest because he’d just played a game the night before - a Ligue 1 match against Marseille in which Neymar scored PSG’s only goal and his ninth league goal of the season. Neymar is set to play a big role with Brazil in the World Cup, and will lead them in the Group G opener against Serbia on November 24. The trial is set to end on October 31.