Brazilian star Neymar has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the pitch since moving to Barcelona. However, his transfer from Brazilian club Santos has been tainted by corruption allegations.
Spain's public prosecutor has asked a Madrid court to sentence Barcelona's star striker Neymar to two years in prison and fine him 10 million euros ($10.6 million) for wrongdoing involving his 2013 transfer from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona, according to a Wednesday court filing.
Prosecutor Jose Perals also called for a five-year sentence for former FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell and a fine of 8.4 million euros for the club. He also called for Brazilian club Santos, which sold Neymar to Barca, to be fined seven million euros.
The prosecutor also asked for a two-year prison sentence to be imposed on Neymar's father and a one-year sentence for his mother over corruption allegations related to the same case, as well as a 1.4 million-euro fine on the family business, N&N.
The case started with a complaint by DIS, a Brazilian investment group, which owned 40 percent of Neymar's transfer rights at the time of his move. DIS claims that it was financially damaged because Barcelona, Neymar, and Santos kept secret the true amount of the player's 2013 transfer fee.
"We feel betrayed by Neymar and his family," DIS chief executive Roberto Moreno said.
Neymar has been facing problem's with Brazil's tax office, which last year froze assets related to him due to tax evasion.
According to Spanish prosecutors, Rosell acting on behalf of Barcelona, devised a series of contracts and payments along with former Santos Vice President Odilio Rodrigues and Neymar's father, with the intention of hiding the real cost of the player. Barcelona initially announced the cost of the move at 57.1 million euros, 17.1 million of which was paid to Santos with the remaining 40 million paid to N&N. However, Spanish authorities believe the real cost was as high as 83.3 million euros. DIS received just 6.8 million euros, 40 percent of the fee paid to Santos.
DIS also argued that a pre-contract agreement between Neymar and Barca, signed in 2011, stopped other clubs from making offers for the player, putting downward pressure on the transfer fee.
Back in June, Barca had hoped to put an end to the affair by agreeing to pay a 5.5-million-euro fine in a deal with prosecutors to settle a separate case and avoid a tax-evasion trial over the transfer.
In July a judge ruled that while there had been irregularities in the transfer, this was an issue to be pursued in a civil court, not a criminal court. However, prosecutors argued that the player and his father were aware of potentially fradulent dealings between Barcelona and Santos to the detriment of DIS and overturned that decision, allowing the current case to proceed.
hf/pfd (Reuters, EFE, AP)