Neymar arrives in court for his transfer trial from Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Hours after scoring the winning goal in Paris Saint-Germain’s French league victory over Marseille, Neymar arrived in court in Spain on Monday to face trial over alleged irregularities in his transfer to Barcelona 2013. .

Neymar’s parents, former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and representatives of the Spanish club and Brazilian team Santos will also appear in court following an appeal by Brazilian investment group DIS over the player’s transfer fee.

All the accused denied that they worked.

The Brazilian striker arrived on the pitch in Barcelona wearing sunglasses and a black suit and tie. Neymar’s father, who is also his agent, was among those who arrived with the player.

The trial comes almost a month before the start of the World Cup on November 20 in Qatar. It is expected to last until the end of the month.

Neymar scored his ninth French league goal of the season in first-half stoppage time on Sunday to lead PSG to a 1-0 win over Marseille in French football’s biggest game.

Neymar and the other defendants are due in court on the first day of the trial, but the player is not expected to testify until Friday.

Neymar and his father face corruption charges and up to two years in prison, which is unlikely to result in a prison sentence. They also face a fine of 10 million euros ($9.7 million). Rosell faces up to five years in prison on fraud and corruption charges, plus a 10 million euro ($9.7 million) fine.

DIS was entitled to 40% of Neymar’s transfer fee, but said it received less compensation because part of the transfer fee was hidden. Prosecutors said those involved tried to hide the true amount of the transfer in order to pay a smaller commission to the investment group.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs claim that DIS received only a due percentage of the 17 million euros ($16.6 million) initially announced by Barcelona and Santos as a fee for the transfer between the clubs, while the actual cost was around 82 million euros ($79.9 million ). An investigating judge in Spain has already said the real cost was at least 83.3 million euros ($81.2 million).

Neymar and his father appeared in court in Madrid several years ago on charges.

Neymar’s move from Santos also landed Barcelona in trouble with the Spanish tax authorities. In 2016, the Catalan club paid a fine of 5.5 million euros (now $5.3 million) to settle a separate case brought by the authorities. In that settlement, the club admitted that it had made a “mistake in the fiscal planning of player transfers”.


Azzoni reported from Madrid.


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