Neymar is CLEARED of fraud over transfer to Barcelona

Neymar is CLEARED of fraud following corruption trial relating to Brazilian soccer star’s transfer to Barcelona

  • Footballer, 30, was accused of deliberately hiding cost of transfer to Barcelona
  • Brazilian company which owned 40% of his rights said they lost out on its cut
  • But a court has ruled in his favour, weeks after prosecutors dropped charges 

Neymar has been cleared of fraud and corruption over the Brazilian football icon’s controversial 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona.

The PSG forward, who is mourning Brazil’s shock exit from the World Cup at the hands of Croatia, had been accused along with his father and the ex-presidents of Santos and Barcelona of deliberately hiding the true cost of his transfer.

Brazilian company DIS, which owned 40 per cent of the rights to the player, had argued it lost out on its rightful cut from the transfer because the true value was understated.

But the Spanish court said in a statement Tuesday that ‘it has not been proven that there was a false contract or that DIS was intended to be harmed.’

Neymar has been cleared of fraud and corruption over the Brazilian football icon’s controversial 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona (pictured in tears after Brazil’s exit to Croatia on Friday)

The verdict is not a surprise following the decision by Spanish state prosecutors to drop all charges during the trial last month. 

That left only the lawyers of DIS to continue arguing their case.

DIS had initially sought a five-year prison sentence for the 30-year-old Neymar. 

But following the withdrawal of the state prosecutors, DIS’ lawyers reduced their demands to two-and-a-half years of prison.

Neymar had previously told the court he did not remember if he took part in the negotiations which led to a 2011 agreement with Barcelona over his transfer two years later. 

Spanish prosecutors have dropped all fraud and corruption charges against Brazil forward Neymar (pictured outside court last month)

Neymar is pictured playing for Santos in May 2013 shortly before his switch to Europe

Pictured: Neymar leaves the Barcelona court with his mother Nadine Goncalves last month

Click here to read how favourites Brazil crashed out of the World Cup  

The trial was the culmination of a years-long legal saga over Neymar’s 2013 move to Spain.

He later joined Qatar-owned PSG in a world record £190million transfer in 2017.

Neymar – one of the sport’s most recognisable figure – was one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, among them his parents and their N&N company, which manages his affairs.

Investigators began probing the transfer after a 2015 complaint filed by DIS, a Brazilian company that owned 40 per cent of the player’s sporting rights when he was at Santos.

Barcelona said the transfer cost £49million, but prosecutors believe it was at least £71million. 

The club said it paid £34million to N&N and £15million to Santos, of which £5.8million was given to DIS.

But DIS alleged that Neymar, Barcelona and the Brazilian club colluded to mask the true cost of the deal.

Among the other defendants were two former Barca presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, and ex-Santos boss Odilio Rodrigues Filho.

Earlier in the trial, Neymar told the court, ‘my father has always been in charge’ of contract negotiations.

Josep Maria Bartomeu (pictured centre) was also accused of being involved in the conspiracy before charges were dropped

He was asked whether he had participated in negotiations for a contract he signed in November 2011 while he was still at Brazilian boyhood club Santos, where he agreed to play for Barcelona – the club he moved to in 2013.

Neymar initially responded: ‘I don’t remember’ before adding in response to a second question from the state prosecutor about negotiations and contracts: ‘I didn’t participate. It was always my father who looked after that and was responsible for that. I sign what he tells me to.’

The footballer, who wore a dark blue suit with a matching tie over a white shirt, admitted: ‘I had offers from other clubs but my dream was always Barcelona. Real Madrid was one of the options but my heart was always for Barcelona.’

Neymar took the stand after Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was called as a witness and told the court the club offered 45 million Euros to sign the Brazilian International in 2011.

He insisted: ‘I don’t know Neymar, I’ve never spoken with him personally.

‘We were interested in signing Neymar about 10 years ago. Players go where they want. Neymar wanted to go to Barcelona and that’s why he went to Barcelona.’

Neymar’s abrupt departure for PSG five years ago sparked a string of legal disputes, with Barcelona withholding its contract extension bonus and suing the player for breach of contract, as Neymar countersued.

Both sides eventually reached an ‘amicable’ out-of-court settlement in 2021.

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