Brazilian superstar Neymar arrives at court to face corruption charges

Brazilian superstar Neymar arrives at court to face corruption charges

Brazilian superstar Neymar arrives at court to face corruption charges over his 2013 transfer to Barcelona with the Paris Saint-Germain player facing two years in jail and £8.5million fine

  • Brazilian footballer Neymar arrived at the Provincial Court of Barcelona today
  • Neymar is one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, among them his parents and their N&N company, which manages his affairs
  • Trial is culmination of a years-long legal saga over Neymar’s 2013 transfer from the Brazilian club Santos

With the World Cup barely a month away, Brazilian superstar Neymar goes on trial in Spain today over alleged irregularities in his transfer to Barcelona nearly a decade ago.

The Paris Saint-Germain player, 30, arrived at the Provincial Court of Barcelona this morning for the trial, which is the culmination of a years-long legal saga over his 2013 transfer from the Brazilian club Santos.

Neymar is one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, among them his parents and their N&N company, which manages his affairs. All three are facing charges of business corruption.

If convicted, Neymar could face two years in jail and a 10 million euro (£8.6 million) fine.

Investigators began probing the 2013 transfer after a 2015 complaint filed by DIS, a Brazilian company that owned 40 per cent of the player’s sporting rights when he was at Santos.

Barcelona said the transfer cost 57.1 million euros (£49.4 million), but prosecutors believe it was at least 83 million euros (£71.8million).

Neymar, 30, arrived at the Provincial Court of Barcelona this morning for the trial, which is the culmination of a years-long legal saga over his 2013 transfer from the Brazilian club Santos

Brazil’s Neymar arrives at court to stand trial on fraud and corruption charges over the transfer to FC Barcelona from Santos in 2013

Neymar arrives at the Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport in Barcelona on Monday morning

Brazil’s Neymar signs his autograph for a fan as he arrives at the airport in Barcelona on Monday

The club said it paid 40 million euros (£34.6 million) to N&N and 17.1 million euros (£14.8 million) to Santos, of which 6.8 million euros (£5.8 million) was given to DIS.

But DIS alleges that Neymar, Barcelona and the Brazilian club colluded to mask the true cost of the deal.

Among the other defendants are two former Barca presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, and ex-Santos boss Odilio Rodrigues Filho.

Neymar, now with Paris Saint-Germain, is expected in court on the first day, although that has not been officially confirmed.

If convicted, Neymar could face two years in jail and a 10 million euro (£8.6 million) fine. Pictured: Neymar arrives at the Provincial Court of Barcelona today

Brazil’s Neymar arrives at court to stand trial on fraud and corruption charges over the transfer to FC Barcelona from Santos in 2013

Former FC Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu arrives at court as Brazil’s Neymar stands trial on fraud and corruption charges over the transfer to FC Barcelona from Santos in 2013

He will testify on either October 21 or October 28, but it is not known if he will have to be physically present. The trial is due to end on October 31.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will take the stand on Tuesday by videoconference to explain how a 2011 secret pre-contract deal between Barca and Neymar influenced the market.

‘Neymar Junior, with the complicity of his parents and FC Barcelona and its directors at the time, and Santos FC at a later stage, defrauded DIS of its legitimate financial interests,’ said DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser on Thursday.

If convicted, he could face two years in jail and a 10-million-euro ($9.7 million) fine. Pictured: Neymar of PSG during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Olympique de Marseille (OM) at Parc des Princes stadium on October 16

DIS is seeking to recover 35 million euros (£30.2 million).

Neymar’s lawyers insist their client is innocent, saying the 40 million euros (£34.6 million) was a ‘legal signing bonus which is normal in the football transfer market’.

The footballer is having one of his best seasons since he joined PSG following a world record 222 million euro (£192.1 million) transfer in 2017.

He scored the only goal in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over bitter rivals Marseille at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Neymar has nine goals and seven assists in 11 matches in Ligue 1.

But his relations with France international superstar Kylian Mbappe appear to be strained, with the 23-year-old reportedly demanding PSG sell the Brazilian.

Neymar is also expected to play a key role for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar, as the South American giants seek to win the trophy for the first time since 2002, and the sixth in total.

He will lead the Selecao into their Group G opener against Serbia on November 24.

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