Barcelona, Spain, Oct 28 (EFE).- Spanish prosecutors on Friday dropped all charges against football star Neymar. Jr and former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell over the allegedly fraudulent signing of the Brazil forward.
Prosecutors initially called for Neymar, who now plays for French side Paris Saint-Germain, to face a 10 million euro fine (roughly $9.95m) and a two-year prison sentence, while Rosell was looking at a potential five years in prison and a 10 million euro fine for alleged corruption.
Neymar’s parents and representatives, Neymar da Silva senior and Nadine Gonçalves, who run the family business N&N Consultoria Esportiva, also had the charges against them dropped, as did Odilio Rodrigues, the former director of Santos, the Brazilian club that sold the young star to the Catalan side.
The absolution of another former Barça president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was vice-president at the time of the allegedly fraudulent transfer contracts, which he signed, was upheld — he was ruled not to have formed part in the negotiations.
The case, known as Neymar 2, was brought by Brazilian investment fund DIS, which said it received only 6.8 million euros for Neymar’s transfer despite owning 40% of the player’s rights.
The forward kicked off his stint in Barcelona in 2013.
Between 2011-13, Barça paid N&N Consultoria Esportiva 60 million euros and Santos another 25 million — 17.1 million for the transfer and 7.9 million to have first choice of three promising players at the Brazilian side, a clause that went unused, and to arrange two friendlies, only one of which was played.
The DIS legal team maintains the accusations against Neymar Jr., Neymar Sr., Rosell, Bartomeu and Rodrigues, although dropped the claim against Neymar’s mother.
However, the prosecution said it had found no evidence of criminal actions in Neymar’s signing, which began in 2011 when Barça paid Santos 40 million to be first in line for his eventual transfer.
“In November 2011, FC Barcelona paid 40 million. It is not a bribe, it is a transfer bonus that consists of an extra amount that a club pays a player for the mere fact that he comes to that club, and that is not prohibited or a crime,” prosecutor Luis García Cantón said.
The defendants in the case have decided to claim costs from DIS.
The last session in the trial is due to take place on October 31, offering the accused a chance to read a final statement.EFE