Neymar’s trial on fraud and corruption enters final day

PSG's Neymar controls the ball during the French Super Cup final soccer match between Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Neymar’s trial entered its final day on Monday with the company that accused him of fraud and corruption reducing the prison sentence it sought for the player’s alleged involvement in irregularities related to his transfer from Santos to Barcelona in 2013.

The trial’s conclusion comes three days after Spain’s state prosecutor dropped its charges against Neymar, his father and the former executives of the Brazilian and Spanish clubs.

Brazilian company DIS continued with its charges but called for a revised prison sentence of 2 1/2 years for Neymar and four years for Neymar’s father, who is also the player’s agent.

DIS initially sought five-year jail terms for the 30-year-old Neymar, his father and former Barcelona executives Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu.

DIS also wants compensation of 34 million euros ($33.6 million) and a fine of 195 million euros ($193.2 million) that would be paid by the accused to the Spanish state.

The state prosecutor announced the decision to drop the charges after hearing testimony from Rosell and Bartomeu on Friday. He said he did not see any evidence that a crime was committed.

The prosecutor initially sought a two-year prison sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($9.9 million) for Neymar. He had also wanted five years for Rosell and three years for the former president of Santos, Odilio Rodrigues.

DIS claims it was paid far less than the 40 per cent it says it was due as part owners of Neymar’s player rights. The company said it only received its due percentage from the 17 million euros ($16.8 million) that Barcelona and Santos initially announced as the transfer fee between the clubs, while the real cost was about 82 million euros ($81.2 million).

DIS on Monday accused Neymar and his father of being traitors for trying to hide the amount of the transfer. It said it lamented the prosecutor’s decision to drop the chargers against Neymar.

All defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

A verdict and sentencing is not expected for several weeks.

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