September 19

Spanish prosecutor wants jail time for Barca’s Neymar

first_imgBy Richard MartinBARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Spain’s public prosecutor has called for Barcelona soccer player Neymar to be sent to prison for two years for his part in a corruption case over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to the Liga champions in 2013, said a court filing yesterday.Judge Jose Perals also called for a five-year sentence for former Barca president Sandro Rosell and a fine of 8.4 million euros ($8.9 million) for the club, but called for charges against current president Josep Maria Bartomeu to be dropped.The case stems from a complaint by a Brazilian investment group, DIS, which owned 40 percent of Brazil forward Neymar’s transfer rights and which alleges it received less money than it was entitled to, as Barca concealed the real transfer fee.Altamiro Bezerra, CEO of Neymar’s company, told Reuters they were “very relaxed” because there was “nothing new”.“… It (the case) had been filed away, and now the Public Ministry has to present new reasons to show why it is asking for it to be reopened, and present evidence, and then ask for a sentence; this isn’t a new case,” he told Reuters.“The whole process has still to happen. The Public Ministry presents its arguments for reopening the case, the judge can reopen it and will still have to hear the prosecution and the defence. The process is going to drag on.”Barcelona have been engulfed in legal troubles over Neymar’s transfer since 2013. Rosell resigned as the club’s president in 2014 for his role in the affair and testified in court in February alongside Bartomeu, Neymar and Neymar’s father.The club struck a deal with prosecutors in June to settle a separate case and paid a 5.5 million euro ($6.2 million) fine and avoided trial on charges of tax evasion over the transfer.Barca thought they had brought the affair to a close when judge Jose de la Mata archived the case in June, although Spain’s public prosecutor successfully overturned the ruling in September, allowing the case to proceed.At a news conference in Madrid yesterday, Jose Barral, chairman of Sonda, umbrella group for DIS, called for stiffer prison sentences and said Barca should pay compensation while Neymar should be banned from playing during the trial.last_img read more