Brazilian striker Neymar will be tried next week on fraud and corruption charges over his move to Barcelona from Santos in 2013 and the complainant, Brazilian investment company DIS, said on Thursday it was asking for a sentence of five years in prison.
Along with Neymar, the defendants in the trial led by the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office, which begins on Monday in Barcelona, are his parents, the two clubs, the former presidents of Barça Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell and the former president of Santos Odilio Rodrigues.
The case stems from a complaint by DIS, a Brazilian company that owned 40% of Neymar’s rights when he was at Santos. He maintains that he lost his share of the transfer because the real value of the operation was underestimated.
Neymar has denied the accusations, but lost an appeal to Spain’s Superior Court of Justice in 2017, paving the way for trial.
Reuters has contacted representatives for Neymar and his parents for comment.
Rosell has also previously denied any wrongdoing. Her representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Barcelona and the lawyers representing Bartomeu declined to comment on the case. Santos did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Rodrigues could not immediately be reached.
DIS also requests prison sentences for Rosell and Bartomeu and a fine of 149 million euros ($144 million).
Spanish prosecutors want a two-year prison sentence for Neymar and the payment of a fine of 10 million euros and a sentence of five years in jail for Rosell plus a fine of 8.4 million euros for the Spanish club.
DIS acquired 40% of Neymar’s rights when he was 17 years old in exchange for 2 million euros. He maintains that the sale of the player to Barcelona was much lower than his real market value.
Barcelona said at the time of Neymar’s signing that the transfer figure was 57.1 million euros, of which 40 million were paid to Neymar’s family.
DIS received 40 percent of the remaining 17.1 million paid to Santos.
“Neymar’s rights have not been sold to the highest bidder. There were clubs that offered up to 60 million euros,” DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser told a news conference in Barcelona on Thursday.
The Barcelona court where the trial will take place said Neymar will have to appear in person on Monday for the first day, but it is unclear whether he will be asked to stay for the entire hearing, which could last two weeks.