Former FC Barcelona player Alves to remain in prison on remand, court rules

Judge rejects setting bail for footballer accused of sexual assault in Barcelona nightclub

Dani Alves kisses FCB's shield during his FCB presentation on November 17, 2021
Dani Alves kisses FCB's shield during his FCB presentation on November 17, 2021 / Miguel Ruiz - FCB
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 21, 2023 10:18 AM

February 21, 2023 12:12 PM

Former FC Barcelona player Dani Alves will have to remain in prison without bail as the investigation into the sexual assault he allegedly committed in a Barcelona nightclub last December continues, judges in the Catalan capital ruled on Tuesday, thereby siding with both the public and the private prosecutors. 

According to the Barcelona provincial court, there are "severe indications of criminality" based not only on the 23-year-old victim's testimony, but also on the witness statements provided by her friends and nightclub staff as well as forensic evidence.

While the judges say there is no risk of him attempting to harm his accuser were he to be granted bail, he could try to flee the country.

The fact that he "initially cooperated" by speaking to investigators and providing them with DNA samples "does not neutralize the flight risk" now that he is aware of the evidence against him.

In fact, the court argues that this "increases the risk of him fleeing exponentially" before the investigation comes to an end and ahead of a likely trial in which he could face up to 12 years behind bars. 

The judges also said that the inquiry into the alleged events was proceeding quickly and would probably be over soon, meaning the footballer could be held for a "reasonable" amount of time before the case goes to trial or is dismissed. 

Alves has been in custody since January 20.

Remand hearing

A hearing was held last Thursday to decide whether he should remain in custody, with the footballer's lawyer, Cristóbal Martell, arguing for his release in exchange for confiscating his passport, wearing an electronic tracking device, and having him check in with the court regularly. 

Martell cited his client's ties to the Barcelona area, where he has a home, and his business activities in Catalonia as proof that he would not flee, adding that the fact that Brazil does not extradite Brazilian nationals and Alves' wealth are insufficient grounds for detaining him without bail.

He also said that his client had suffered an economic blow after his contracts were rescinded once the allegations were made public. 

The public prosecutor's office, on the other hand, opposed letting Alves walk free because of the "serious flight risk" they say he poses. The fact that he is from Brazil and has a large net worth "allows him to flee the country."

Four different versions of events

The player has thus far given four versions of what happened that night.

The footballer's lawyer only admitted last Thursday during the hearing that there had indeed been vaginal penetration in the bathroom of the VIP area at Barcelona's Sutton nightclub on December 30. 

Before then, Alves claimed that the woman had only performed oral sex on him voluntarily.

A few days later, however, a DNA test confirmed that the traces of semen found in the woman's body belonged to Alves

The test was also a positive match for evidence found on her dress, in her underwear, and on the bathroom floor.