Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Barcelona superstar Neymar to stand trial for fraud

Barcelona superstar Neymar to stand trial for fraud

Neymar has been told he must stand trial in Spain as the long-standing allegations of fraud and corruption surrounding his transfer from Santos to Barcelona moving to the next stage.

The National Court also ordered Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell, as well as the two clubs, Barcelona and Brazil s Santos, to be sent to trial over the affair.

The controversy surrounding Neymar's transfer stems from a complaint by the Brazilian investment group DIS, who claim to have owned 40 per cent of the rights to Neymar during his time at Santos.

The Spanish giants said at the time of the deal that the transfer fee was €57.1m (£47m), €40m of which was paid to Neymar's family.

Prosecutors are demanding two years' imprisonment and a fine of €10 million for Neymar, and five years' incarceration for Rosell.

Neymar has been accused of helping to hide the true transfer fee of his move from Santos to Barcelona in June 2013.

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Neymar is not the first Barcelona player to get into trouble with the Spanish authorities.

Last July, a Spanish judge quashed criminal action against Neymar and his family, saying the accusations were a matter for a civil court. DIS received €6.8 million of the supposed €17 million received by Santos.

The decision to order Neymar to stand trial is a blow to the Brazilian's image and that of Barcelona.

Barcelona hoped to bring an end to the murky affair when the club agreed to pay a 5.5-million-euro fine in a deal with prosecutors in June to settle a separate case and ensure the club avoided trial on tax-evasion charges over the transfer.

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Neymar's career has skyrocketed at Barcelona, where he has excelled on the pitch alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

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