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Neymar acquitted of fraud and corruption

The world’s most expensive football player has been cleared after going on trial in Spain

A Spanish court has acquitted Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar of fraud and corruption charges related to his transfer from Santos to FC Barcelona in 2013.

The 30-year-old went on trial with his father, ex-Barca presidents Josep Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, ex-Santos president Odilio Rodrigues, and the two clubs in question.

All parties involved were found not guilty after a trial was brought forward by Spanish prosecutors in October.

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On October 31, the state prosecutor announced that a decision to drop the charges had been made after hearing Rosell and Bartomeu’s testimonies, as he did not see any evidence of a crime being committed.

Brazilian company DIS, which owned 40% of Neymar’s rights when he was at Santos, had filed a complaint alleging that it had lost out on money from his transfer to Barcelona due its true value being understated.

“The real cost of the transaction (between Santos and Barcelona) was €82 million ($80 million), and only €17 million ($16.6 million) appeared as the official transfer,” DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser said at a press conference when the trial began. 

DIS demanded a five-year prison sentence for Neymar and jail time for Rosell and Bartomeu in addition to €149 million ($157 million) in fines for the trial’s defendants. 

Spanish prosecutors had initially sought a two-year jail term for Neymar and payment of a €10 million ($10.5 million) fine. They also wanted five-year jail terms for Rosell and Bartomeu, plus a fine of €8.4 million ($8.9 million) fine for FC Barcelona.

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The star was seen arriving at court with his mother.
Neymar fraud trial begins in Barcelona

News that he has been formally cleared should come as some comfort to Neymar in difficult times.

On Friday, he equaled Pele’s record 77-goal tally for the Brazilian national team in extra time of their World Cup quarterfinal against Croatia, only for the Balkans team to equalize and knock the five-time winners out of Qatar 2022 on penalties.

A dejected Neymar was captured crying on the turf at the Education City Stadium and it remains uncertain whether he will continue to play for his country. 

Pele and many of his teammates have urged Neymar to carry on, and he may fancy one last crack at winning a first World Cup title in North America in 2026 when aged 34. 

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Previous transfer windows have seen Neymar linked with a move away from PSG, who he joined after the Qatari-backed Ligue 1 club activated his record €222 million ($236.5 million) Barca release clause. 

Neymar signed a contract renewal at Parc des Princes in July 2021 which was later automatically extended until 2027 according to reports.

December 13, 2022 at 08:10PM
RT

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