Brazilian superstar Neymar faces a possible prison sentence in a case regarding his move to Barcelona in 2013. Investment firm DIS claims they are owed money because the player’s full value was not met in the transfer. The trial begins next month.
DIS owned 40% of Neymar’s rights when he departed Santos in Brazil for Barca.
One of the most prized young players on the planet, the Spanish club bought Neymar for a reported fee of around €57 million, reported by Reuters. According to Barca, the player’s family received €40 million and DIS and Santos split the remaining €17 million (40/60 respectively).
However, DIS is complaining that other clubs offered more money for Neymar. “Neymar’s rights have not been sold to the highest bidder,” DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser claimed in a press conference on Thursday. ”There were clubs that offered up to €60 million.”
Along with the player, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, ex-Santos president Odilio Rodrigues, as well as Neymar’s parents are all listed as defendants in the trial.
Neymar faces prison sentence in Spain
If convicted, Neymar would face two years in prison and a $9.7 million fine. Prosecutors are apparently seeking a five-year prison sentence and a $8.1 million fine for the ex-Barca officials.
Neymar’s law firm, Baker McKenzie, told Reuters they will counter. The firm believes Spanish authorities “lack jurisdiction” to prosecute the Neymar family. This stems from the fact the transfer occurred in Brazil and involved Brazilians.
There is also concern for the prosecution. There is debate over whether the player can choose the club he transfers to, regardless of money. ”The rules of free competition do not operate since the transfer from one club to another depends on the free will of the player,” a spokesperson of Baker McKenzie told Reuters.
“The player is not a service or a commodity. He is a person of his own free will.”
Neymar will have to be in court on Monday. It remains unseen if the PSG player must stay for the entire trial.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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