Soccer Football – Brazil’s Neymar to stand trial in a corruption case over his transfer to FC Barcelona – Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport, Barcelona, Spain – October 17, 2022 Brazil’s Neymar arrives at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport before attending court to stand trial on fraud and corruption charges over the transfer to FC Barcelona from Santos in 2013 REUTERS/Nacho Doce
BARCELONA, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Paris St Germain and Brazil soccer star Neymar Jr. is set to testify on Tuesday in his trial on fraud and corruption charges over his transfer to Barcelona from Santos in 2013.
Along with Neymar, 30, eight other defendants are on trial, including his parents, representatives of the two clubs, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
All the defendants have denied any wrongdoing.
Judge Jose Manuel del Amo Sanchez accepted Neymar’s defence request that he would testify on Tuesday instead of Friday as originally planned as PSG have a game scheduled that day.
Spanish prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison term and a 10 million euro ($9.8 million) fine for Neymar. They are also seeking a five-year jail term for Rosell and an 8.4 million euro fine for the club.
The case centres on the claim made by Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned 40% of the rights to Neymar when he was at Santos, that it lost out on its rightful cut from the player’s transfer because the value of the deal was understated.
DIS is seeking a five-year jail term for Neymar, fines worth 149 million euros in total and for the player to be disqualified from playing for the length of any sentence handed down.
The judge allowed Neymar and the rest of defendants to not attend all the trial’s session. The player arrived in Barcelona on Monday on a private flight from Paris where he lives.
Neymar and his father talked and laughed with Rosell in the court lobby before the trial started shortly after 10 a.m.
Seated on the defendants’ benches, Neymar appeared distracted at times, looking down and yawning.
He laughed when the judge said Neymar scored a goal in PSG’s crucial victory against Olympique de Marseille on Sunday evening, suggesting the forward must be tired.
Defence lawyer Maria Masso said the player has not committed any crime. He said the events being judged took place in Brazil, arguing that Spanish courts lack jurisdiction to prosecute the Neymar family.
Neymar, a member of the Brazil squad heading to the World Cup in Qatar next month, lost an appeal over the case in Spain’s High Court in 2017, clearing the way for the trial.
DIS said last week the real cost of the transaction between Santos and Barcelona was 82 million euros but only 17 million appeared as the official deal.
Reporting by Fernando Kallas, Elena Rodriguez, Guillermo Martinez, Joan Faus, Nacho Doce, Albert Gea, Horaci Garcia and Inti Landauro; Editing by Angus MacSwan
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.