Brazilian striker Neymar will go on trial in Spain a month before the World Cup over alleged irregularities surrounding his transfer to Barcelona in 2013.
Neymar’s parents, former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and the club and Brazilian side Santos are also set to go on trial after a complaint by Brazilian investment group DIS over the player’s transfer fee.
The trial is due to begin on October 17, nearly a month before the World Cup opens on November 21 in Qatar.
Neymar and his father, who is also his agent, face corruption charges and a prison sentence of up to two years, which would likely not result in any jail time. They also face a fine of 10 million euros ($10.1 million). Rosell faces five years in prison for fraud and corruption, plus a fine of 10 million euros ($10.1 million).
DIS were entitled to 40% of Neymar’s transfer but said they received less compensation as part of the transfer fee was concealed. Prosecutors said those involved tried to hide the actual amount of the transfer in order to pay a lower commission to the investment group.
Neymar and the others have denied any wrongdoing. Neymar and his father already appeared in court in Madrid a few years ago because of the charges.
Santos officially received 17.1 million euros (now $17.3 million) for Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona, but prosecutors say the total amount paid by the Spanish club was 25.1 million. euros (now $25.4 million), meaning DIS would be entitled to an additional 3.2 million euros ($3.3 million).
Prosecutors said the difference stemmed from payments made by Barcelona for future acquisitions of other players, as well as friendly match partnerships between the clubs.
According to court documents, DIS paid 5 million reals (now $940,000) for 40% of Neymar’s rights in 2009.
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