Public prosecutors drop charges against all defendants in Neymar trial 

Brazilian star and two former FC Barcelona presidents accused of corruption and fraud relating to 2013 transfer

Former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell testifies in the Catalan High Court as part of the Neymar transfer trial, October 28, 2022
Former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell testifies in the Catalan High Court as part of the Neymar transfer trial, October 28, 2022 / Catalan High Court stream
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Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 28, 2022 12:43 PM

October 28, 2022 05:35 PM

Public prosecutors have dropped all charges in the trial taking place in the Catalan High Court surrounding the transfer of Neymar Jr from Santos to FC Barcelona in 2013. 

Neymar, as well as former Barça presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu and a former director of Santos, had been accused of corruption for the manner of Neymar's arrival to Catalonia. 

However, DIS, the Brazilian company making the accusations and acting as private prosecutors, have not dropped the accusations against Neymar, his father, the former Barça executives and the former Santos director, meaning they could still be found guilty. 

Instead, public prosecutors ask for the acquittal of all the accused.

However, accusations against Neymar's mother have been dropped by all sides, automatically acquitting her.

Neymar trial

The trial against Neymar, his parents, and former Barça presidents Rosell and Bartomeu began on October 17, around nine years after the Catalan club signed the player.

DIS, a company that owned a 40% share of the player's rights when he was playing with Santos FC in Brazil, claims Neymar's transfer to Barça cost at least €82m: well above the official €57m. 

According to FC Barcelona, €17m was paid to Santos, of which DIS received €6.8m, while another €40m went to N&N, a company set up by Neymar's parents, who have also been charged with fraud. 

Before the trial, the public prosecutor's office requested a 5-year sentence for Rosell, in addition to a €10m fine and a 3-year disqualification, and two years for both Neymar and his father, as well as one for his mother, and €10m fines each.

Yet, the sessions that have taken place over two weeks have made the prosecutor change its proposal.

In explaining their decision in the court, magistrates said that DIS had the right to believe that the transfer of Neymar should have been done at a higher price than what they profited from, but that they brought the case to the wrong jurisdiction,

DIS, public prosecutors said, should have filed a civil case rather than a criminal case. 

The judge is also of the opinion that there was free competition in the football transfer market, so therefore the payments from Barça to Neymar's family would not have excluded the player from signing with another club. 

Former Barça presidents testify

The two accused former presidents of Barcelona, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, testified in the Catalan High Court on Friday morning as defendants. 

Sandro Rosell explained that FC Barcelona paid Santos €17.1 million to sign the forward six months earlier than when he could have arrived in Catalonia for free, when his contract with the Brazilian club was due to expire. 

Rosell also explained that the club paid Neymar and his family, as his father, Neymar Sr, works as the player's agent, a sum of €40 million in 2011 as a pre-agreement to arrive in Barcelona in the future. 

Rosell, who presided over the Catalan club between 2010-2014, also said that Neymar was paid a higher salary at Barcelona than that first agreed due to the changes in the football market. As Rosell said, the player's performances in the intervening 18 months meant that his price increased - something that Rosell described as normal in the football world. 

Both former presidents were asked about a deal with Santos to play two friendly matches, one in Barcelona and one in Brazil.

Rosell and Bartomeu both said the agreement was in place, but that the second of the two games could not be played in Brazil as an appropriate date in the calendar could not be found, but the Barça executives were attracted to the prospect as it would have been a good opportunity to build marketing connections and potential sponsorship agreements in the South American country.