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TAX FRAUD

Spanish prosecutor calls for two-year jail sentence for Barça star Neymar

Club also facing €8.4m fine over irregularities when contract was signed

Spanish prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a two-year jail term for Brazilian soccer star Neymar for alleged fraud committed during his signing for FC Barcelona between 2011 and 2013. The case is being heard at the Spanish High Court, which is also hearing accusations against the player’s father, former Barcelona FC president Sandro Rosell, and Neymar’s previous team, Brazilian side Santos.

Neymar during a match last weekend.
Neymar during a match last weekend. AFP

Prosecutors have called for a five-year sentence for Rosell and an €8.4 million fine for Barcelona FC.

The court believes that the accused have defrauded DIS, a Brazilian investment company that owned 40% of the player’s rights at the time of the transfer.

The court believes the accused defrauded a Brazilian investment company that owned 40% of the player’s rights

DIS claims it has not received its financial dues from the transfer of Neymar from Santos to Barcelona in the summer of 2013.

In September, Spain’s Supreme Court ordered Judge José de la Mata to reopen the case into the alleged fraud. De la Mata had decided to shelve the case in July, saying there was insufficient evidence to continue the investigation.

But the Supreme Court accepted that the 2011 contract under which Barcelona FC agreed to pay Neymar €40 million for his move from Santos de Sao Paulo breached FIFA rules and also impacted negatively on fair competition between clubs.

Under Spanish law, a two-year jail sentence is usually suspended, unless the guilty party has prior convictions.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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