Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is reportedly set to go on trial for alleged corruption in his contract with former club Barcelona – one month before the start of Brazil’s World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Neymar’s move from Santos to the Spanish giants in 2013 has been the subject of protracted legal wrangling that will finally reach a Barcelona court on October 17.
The Brazilian, 30, and former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu will be tried for alleged corruption and fraud in the case, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. The trial is due to conclude on October 31.
Prosecutors are seeking two years in prison for Neymar and a fine of £8.4million.
The trial follows a complaint filed seven years ago by DIS – a Brazilian company which focuses on the football market.
In a complex case, the company, which owned 40 per cent of Neymar’s ‘federative rights’ when he was at Santos, claims they were defrauded by the Brazilian, his family and Barcelona.
Neymar will reportedly stand trial along with two former Barcelona presidents on October 17
It is also alleged that Neymar, who joined PSG from Barcelona for a world record fee of £200million in 2017, and his father, Neymar da Silva Santos, signed two ‘simulated contracts’ with Barcelona that ignored the fact the player’s rights belonged to the Brazilian club.
One of those agreements, worth £33million, was allegedly conducted without the knowledge of Santos, for whom Neymar made his name.
DIS want Neymar, who will be the focal point of the Brazilian squad at the World Cup, to be banned for football for five years and sent to prison for the same period. They are seeking compensation of around £126million.
The Brazilian’s move from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 is at the heart of the legal case
Barcelona have previously been charged with tax fraud over the signing of Neymar from Santos
‘Barcelona and the player broke the FIFA rules and altered free competition in the transfer market,’ DIS said in 2016, when El Pais reports the indictments were presented following the conclusion of the judicial investigation.
In 2014, Barcelona were charged with tax fraud by a Spanish court over the signing of Neymar.
Neymar has denied wrongdoing but in 2017, Spain’s High Court rejected appeals by the player, his parents, N&N and the two clubs, paving the way for the case to go to trial.
Brazil begin their World Cup campaign against Serbia on November 24, a little over four weeks after the trial is scheduled to begin in Barcelona.
The October 17 date is also a day after PSG, the defending French champions, are due to host Marseille in Ligue 1.
The trial will begin four weeks before Brazil open their World Cup campaign against Serbia
While it is unlikely a verdict will be rendered before the start of the tournament, the case will be an unwelcome distraction for Neymar.
Brazil, seeking a record-extending sixth World Cup crown, also play Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.
Neymar’s club future has been the subject of intense speculation this summer, with PSG reportedly willing to cash in on him, but he has insisted he has no intention of leaving the French club.
Neymar left Santos to join Barcelona and the deal has been subject to intense legal wrangling