Neymar was in court in Barcelona on Monday, just hours after scoring the only goal in Paris Saint-1-0 Germain’s victory over bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille in Ligue 1’s Le Classique on Sunday.
According to Reuters, Neymar spent a few hours in court before being excused for the rest of the day after arriving from Paris in the early hours following his Parc des Princes heroics.
The Brazilian international appeared in Barcelona alongside eight others to face fraud and corruption charges stemming from his move from Santos to the Catalan giants in 2013.
In December 2013, Blaugrana fan and socio-Jordi Cases filed a complaint against former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, alleging misappropriation of funds and a lack of transparency regarding the €40 million paid to the company owned by Neymar and his father.
Claims, a lifelong supporter of the Catalan club, had previously criticized some of the club’s other initiatives, such as the shirt sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways. Cases claim he and other socios have a right to know how the money was spent, but he claims he would not have pursued the case in the first place if he had received a civil answer from Barcelona.
When Neymar was a Santos player, the Brazilian investment firm DIS owned 40% of his rights.DIS claims that his transfer from Brazil to Barcelona was overvalued and understated
The charges are being brought by DIS, and Neymar is named as a defendant along with his parents, former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and JosepMaria Bartomeu, as well as representatives from both clubs and Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.
Given that Neymar is scheduled to testify this Friday, the same day that his current club PSG plays away at AC Ajaccio in Ligue 1 on the French island of Corsica, it will at least extend beyond this week. It’s difficult to imagine a verdict being issued right away, and then there’ll almost certainly be an appeals process. Given that this has been a contentious issue since 2014, it is more likely that we are talking months rather than days or weeks.
Last Thursday, complainant DIS stated that they are seeking a five-year prison sentence for Neymar. At the time of Neymar’s arrival at Camp Nou in 2013, Spanish prosecutors were considering a two-year prison sentence with a $9.8 million fine for the player and a five-year term for Barcelona president Rosell. Rosell resigned from his position after the initial investigation revealed that Neymar’s father had pocketed a substantial sum over the officially declared transfer fee.
However, Barcelona’s financial vice-president Susana Monje sparked outrage earlier this year when she claimed that, with the €40 million now considered to be waged, the transfer fee for Neymar was €19.3 million.
“The signing originally cost €57.3 million plus a €2 million Ballon d’Or bonus,” she explained. “Following the agreement with the public prosecutor’s office, we must remove €40m of the payout and classify it as a salary, bringing the total cost of the transfer to €19.3m plus €24m gross salary per season.”
“I’d like to congratulate those who devised the operation and the player on his decision to join Barcelona.” Given the player that Neymar is, the deal is clearly below market value.”
The allegations against Neymar and the other defendants are serious, but it is still early in the investigation. It’s reasonable to expect that a compromise will be reached in which DIS is compensated and Neymar avoids prison time, but that depends on how events unfold in the Barcelona court this week and beyond. Furthermore, it is Neymar’s father who is said to have benefited the most from this deal, not Neymar himself.