Neymar set to testify in fraud trial over Barcelona transfer

Former FC Barcelona player Neymar who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain, 2nd from left, gestures next to his father Neymar Da Silva Santos, left, on arrival at a court on the second day of a trial in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 18, 2022. Neymar is in court to face a trial over alleged irregularities involving his transfer to Barcelona in 2013. Neymar's parents, former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and representatives for both the Spanish club and Brazilian team Santos are also in court after a complaint brought by Brazilian investment group DIS regarding the amount of the player's transfer. (AP Photo/Joan Mateu Parra)

Neymar arrived in court on Tuesday to testify in a fraud and corruption trial over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona nearly a decade ago.

Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, were among those accused of concealing the real amount of the transfer from an investment group involved in the negotiations.

Neymar’s mother, former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu, and representatives of both club also were set to be in court in the trial that began on Monday and was expected to last at least until next week.

All defendants have denied wrongdoing. They all had to be in court on the first day, but Neymar was allowed to leave after a few hours because he played for Paris Saint-Germain in France the night before.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez was called to testify by the plaintiffs on Tuesday and said via video conference he didn’t know Neymar personally but admitted his club was interested in signing the player before he joined Barcelona. He said Madrid made a couple of offers for Neymar, one of 30 million euros and another of 45 million euros.Neymar’s move from Santos in 2013 got Barcelona in trouble with Spain’s tax office a few years ago.

Investment group DIS was entitled to 40% of Neymar’s transfer but said it received a smaller compensation because part of the transfer fee was concealed. Prosecutors said those involved tried to hide the real amount of the transfer to pay a lower commission.

Prosecutors charged the 30-year-old Neymar and his father with corruption and asked for a prison sentence of up to two years, although any jail time up to that length would likely be suspended. Prosecutors also seek a fine of 10 million euros ($9.8 million) for Neymar and his father.

DIS accused Neymar and his father of corruption and fraud and asked for a five-year prison sentence, plus financial compensation.

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