Spanish prosecutors drop charges against Neymar, others
BARCELONA – Prosecutors in Spain dropped corruption and fraud charges on Friday against football star Neymar and others accused in a trial over the Brazilian’s 2013 move from Santos to Barcelona.
In a dramatic move, the prosecutor announced the “withdrawal of the charges against all the accused and for all the allegations” they had faced.
“There is not the slightest hint of crime,” prosecutor Luis Garcia Canton said after all defendants had testified in the trial in Barcelona, asking the judge for the “acquittal of all defendants”.
Neymar, 30, had said he did not remember if he took part in the negotiations which led to an agreement sealed in 2011 with Barcelona over his transfer two years later to the Spanish side from Brazilian club Santos.
Spanish prosecutors had sought a two-year prison term for Neymar, a key member of the Brazil team that will be heading to the World Cup in Qatar in November, and the payment of a €10 million (S$14.1 million) fine. The case was brought by Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned 40 per cent of the rights to Neymar when he was at Santos.
DIS argues that it lost out on its rightful cut from the transfer because the true value was understated.
The dropping of the charges is the culmination of a years-long legal saga over Neymar’s high-profile transfer to Europe.
He then joined Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain in a world record €222 million euro transfer in 2017.
Neymar had been one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, among them his parents and their N&N company, which manages his affairs.
The prosecution had also initially sought a five-year jail term for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell and an €8.4 million fine for Barcelona.
A source close to the Neymar family told Reuters that their legal representatives Baker Mckenzie would claim costs against the private prosecution for what they consider recklessness, acting in poor faith and for abuse of process.
They will also reserve the right to claim for damages. - AFP, REUTERS