MADRID: After Lionel Messi, Barcelona team-mate Neymar is being dragged deeper in legal troubles.
A Spanish judge has accepted corruption charges against the Brazil superstar over irregularities regarding his transfer to Barcelona. This could lead to Neymar being put on trial together with his parents.
Already Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and predecessor Sandro Rosell are due to stand trial after a complaint by Brazilian investment group DIS.
DIS was entitled to 40pc cent of Neymar’s transfer from Brazilian club Santos in 2013 but said it received a smaller compensation than it should have because part of the transfer fee was concealed.
Fraud charges had been approved against Barcelona, Santos and a former president of the Brazilian club.
Monday’s ruling by National Court judge Jose de la Mata means prosecutors will have 10 days to formalise their request for a trial.
The ruling was expected after prosecutors won an appeal to keep the case alive two months ago.
De la Mata had shelved the complaint by DIS earlier this year, but a group of judges ruled that there was enough evidence to reopen the case.
Neymar and his father, who acts as the player’s agent, appeared in a Madrid court in February to defend themselves and are denying all wrongdoing – as have all other parties.
In June, Barcelona paid a fine of €5.5m (£4.89m) to settle a separate case brought by Spain’s tax authorities. In that agreement, the club acknowledged it made “an error in the fiscal planning of the player’s transfer”.
Barcelona said the price of Neymar’s transfer was €57.1m (£50.82m), with Santos receiving €17.1m (£15.22m). Prosecutors said the total amount paid by the Spanish club to Santos was €25.1m (£22.34m), meaning DIS would be entitled to an additional €3.2m (£2.85m).
The difference comes from payments made by Barcelona for the future acquisitions of other players, as well as partnerships for friendly matches between the clubs. According to court documents, DIS paid 5 million reals (£1.26m) for its 40pc of Neymar’s rights in 2009.