The Spanish National Court of Justice announced Wednesday the trial of Brazilian forward Neymar. The player allegedly committed fraud in his transfer to the Barcelona Football Club, popularly known as Barça. In addition to the forward himself, his parents and two of the team presidents will face trial.
The magistrate set a joint bail at $3.65 million under the claim of financial responsibility for all parties involved. Brazilian investment fund DIS has accused Neymar, the Santos football club, and Barcelona of hiding money in the player’s transfer from 2013.
Normally, DIS would have received 40 percent of the transfer value. Barcelona FC paid about $18.6 million for the forward’s transfer. However, the Catalan club paid $43.8 million beforehand to the player’s company. Furthermore, Santos received close to $13 million in extra contracts at the moment of Neymar’s sale.
The teams claim the additional contracts actually corresponded to future transfers of Santos’ players. But DIS claims the clubs hid the money in order to avoid paying their full due. The investment firm has requested that the player serve five years in prison without the possibility of playing during that time.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Prosecutor has suggested a two-year sentence as well as a $11 million fine. Although the DIS and public prosecutor’s cases are separate, they will be taken to trial together before the Spanish Court. The National Court maintains jurisdiction across the entire Spanish territory, handling cases of terrorism and organized crime.
The Brazilian forward claimed that he had no notion of the transfer’s financial details. Rather, Neymar has stated that he focuses on the football and leaves the logistics to his agent, his father, in whom he trusts blindly. Another player to use this defense was the Argentinian Leo Messi, who was condemned to 21 months in jail for fiscal crimes.
It’s not the first time Neymar has gotten into trouble for financial trickery. Back in March, Brazilian revenue authorities convicted him of tax fraud and made him pay a $52 million fine. In another case, a Brazilian court found him guilty of using dummy companies from 2012 to 2014. Once again, his parents controlled these companies. They used them to hide some of the money he received from Santos, Barça, and Nike.