Spanish court orders Barcelona, Neymar to face graft charges over signing

Barcelona, Feb 20 (IANS) A Spanish court on Monday ordered that Football Club Barcelona and its star Neymar must appear in court to face fraud and corruption charges over the signing of the Brazil forward.

The National Court confirmed that Barcelona, Neymar and two of the club’s presidents, Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell should face trial for alleged unlawful dealings in 2011 between individuals over Neymar’s acquisition from Brazilian club Santos, reports Efe news agency.

Barcelona had previously appealed the case and requested it be dropped as it considered the investigation that led to the charges “does not prove the existence of a criminal act”, a claim the court rebutted.

The court also ratified that proceedings against Nadine Gonçalves, the player’s mother, and the family company N & N, would go ahead after rejecting appeals brought by their defenses.

In November, National Court Judge José de la Mata issued a writ of prosecution following his acceptance of a complaint presented by DIS, an entity which owns 40 percent of the federative rights to the 25-year-old footballer.

These rights entitled DIS to 40 percent of Neymar’s transfer fee, but it contested that it received a lesser payment because part of the transfer fee had been deliberately concealed.

Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona was marred by controversy almost from the get go.

Barcelona paid a fine of 5.5 million euros ($6.1 million) in June to settle another case instigated by Spain’s tax authority.

Barcelona had agreed it made an error in what it called the fiscal planning for the former Brazil captain’s transfer.

–IANS

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