The trial taking place at the Barcelona Provincial Court is the latest chapter in a long fight between Neymar and his father with businessman Delcir Sonda, owner of Grupo DIS.
The businessman claims that he owned part of the striker’s economic rights when they were sold by Santos to Barcelona in 2013. DIS filed a complaint with the Spanish court that there had been fraud in the declared value of the negotiation.
Neymar, his father (of the same name), his mother Nadine and the former presidents of Barcelona Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu were included in the list of accused of the crime of corruption of private individuals. Spanish leaders are also liable for tax fraud.
The prosecution asks for two years in prison for Neymar, captain of the Brazilian team at the World Cup in Qatar, which will start on November 20. He may also be, in case of conviction, obliged to pay a fine of 10 million euros (R$ 52.6 million).
The DIS’ initial request was that there be five years in prison and that the athlete be barred from playing for the same period.
The complaint was made by the company in 2015, the year in which the player won the Champions League title with Barcelona.
DIS claims it owned 40% of Neymar’s rights when he was at Santos. In an interview given in 2017, Delcir Sonda said he considered himself betrayed because he started investing in the athlete in 2009, his second year as a professional. He even said that Neymar “cannot be an example for our children”.
DIS reported having paid US$ 2 million for 40% (R$ 10.5 million at the current price) of the athlete’s rights. By claiming to have been deceived by Neymar, his parents and Barcelona, the company asks for fines that would total around 150 million euros (R$ 778 million in today’s values).
The DIS claim, shared by the prosecution, is that in 2011 Neymar and his father signed two contracts with Barcelona that did not mention that Neymar’s rights belonged to Santos and Grupo DIS. One of those contracts was worth 40 million euros (R$207.80 million currently) and served, the prosecution believes, for Barcelona to sign Neymar before he was free on the market.
The prosecution says this changed the rules of free competition in the transfer market.
The complaint made by DIS also called into question the value declared by Barcelona for the purchase of Neymar in 2013. The club reported that it would have been 57 million euros (R$ 295.7 million). The prosecution suspects that the deal actually amounted to 83.3 million euros (R$ 432.20 million).
He was also summoned to depose Odílio Rodrigues Filho, president of Santos at the time of the player’s sale.
In his testimony, Neymar said that he did not take part in the negotiation and that he signed everything his father asked him to do.
“I knew about rumors of other clubs interested in signing me, but my dream has always been to play for Barcelona, the club of my dreams,” he said.