Brazilian striker Neymar has been accused of concealing the true cost of his 2013 transfer deal from Brazil's Santo to FC Barcelona. If the case comes to trial he will follow Lionel Messi into court.
Spanish prosecutors said Tuesday the trial should go forward, amid accusations that the Barca striker, along with several accomplices, concealed a portion of the cost of his multi-million-dollar transfer from Santos to Barca in 2013.
Revelations of Neymar's alleged fraud center around Brazilian investment fund DIS, which claims it was cheated of its share of the profitthanks to parallel contracts by Barca and Santos
that effectively hid the real value of the transfer.
The deal was originally valued at 57.1 million euros ($64.9 million) by Barca, 40 million euros of which went to a company owned by Neymar's father.
The additional 17.1 million euros went to Santos, and 6.8 million euros of that went to DIS.
However, Spanish judicial authorities believe that once all the simultaneous deals are included, the transfer's real worth was around 83.3 million euros, and that difference likely went to Neymar, his family and Santos.
Corruption and fraud
The prosecutors want Neymar, his father Neymar Da Silva Santos, Barca's ex-president Sandro Rosell and FC Barcelona itself to be tried for corruption. In addition, they want Rosell, FC Barcelona and Santos to be tried for fraud.
Over the past several months, Neymar and his father have fought back against the accusations, insisting they are baseless. "Before saying nonsense - that we hid this, or hid that - they should prove it," Neymar said in an interview on Brazilian television in February.
Authorities in Brazil have also launched an investigation into Neymar and his father in connection with the deal. In September, they froze $47 million worth of the player's assets at the start of the investigation.
In February, a Brazilian courtdismissed a separate case
, related to tax evasion, against Neymar.
blc/jm (AFP, SID)