PSG’s Neymar denies ‘illegal negotiations’ in Barcelona transfer

Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, are among various individuals indicted by the Brazilian investment firm DIS.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar Jr denied any wrongdoings over alleged fraud in his transfer to Barcelona in 2013 at his court hearing on Monday.

The Brazilian footballer faces a two-year prison term, and a $9.8 million fine for allegedly concealing the accurate transfer amount in the negotiations.

However, the superstar footballer this week said he signed according to instructions from his father, noting he did not participate in any transfer talks.

“My father handles everything; I wasn’t involved in the negotiations. I only sign what he tells me to sign,” Neymar testified.

Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, were indicted by the Brazilian investment firm DIS.

Former Barca presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, and Santos President Odilio Rodrigues also faces charges.

All nine deny any wrongdoing, as DIS, which is entitled to 40% of Neymar’s transfer, has stated it received far less compensation than expected.

The investment firm demands a five-year jail term, but Spanish prosecutors have settled for a two-year prison term for Neymar.

Both sentences are unlikely to happen, as Baker McKenzie, who is defending Neymar, argues that Spanish courts lack the jurisdiction to prosecute since the transfer involved Brazilian nationals within Brazilian territory.

The fraud charges date back to 2013 and were taken to Spain’s High Court in 2017, in which Neymar lost an appeal to overturn the trial.

Real Madrid’s long-serving President Florentino Perez also appeared in the trial, joining via a video conference where he claimed he had no knowledge of the negotiations.

Perez stated he didn’t share a personal relationship with Neymar, but Madrid was interested in offering the Brazilian $44.2 million before he joined Barcelona.

Former Barcelona President Sandro Rosell who resigned amid the lawsuit, signed Neymar for $55.3 million, but prosecutors believe it was actually around $80.5 million.

Barcelona claims it paid $16.5 million to Santos, of which $6.5 million were given to the DIS.

In addition to the five-year sentence, DIS seeks $33.9 million for repayment.

The trial is expected to take a considerable amount of time as it will also factor into Neymar’s football schedule.

Neymar is having one of his best seasons since he joined PSG for a staggering $263 million, the most expensive ever.

The footballer is scheduled to testify this Friday before PSG faces AC Ajaccio in Ligue 1.

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