Brazilian forward Neymar will be standing trial in Spain in connection with the value of his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona, the Spanish National High Court said on Thursday.
Neymar will be standing the trial alongside his parents, the two clubs – Barcelona and Santos, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues, according to a court statement.
The case started from a complaint by DIS, a Brazillian company which owned 40% of Neymar’s sporting rights during his time at Santos. DIS claimed they were cheated out of their rightful share from the transfer because the true value of the contract was not disclosed.
Prosecutors said in November that Neymar should serve a two year term in a correctional facility and also fined €10 million. For first time offenders in a case that involves no violence, a sentence of two years and below are suspended in Spain and it is unlikely the player would serve any jail term.
Barcelona said that at the time of the transfer, the deal was made for €57.1 million, of which €40 million went to Neymar’s family.
DIS was given 40% of the remaining €17.1 million that Santos received, but the court have ruled that the true value of the sporting rights to the player that Barcelona was paid was €25.2 million and said that DIS share should have been calculated based on that amount.
“The Judge has set bonds of 3,429,768 euros as pecuniary liability for Rosell, Bartomeu, Rodrigues, Football Club Barcelona and Santos Football Club, which must be paid by all jointly,” the court said in a statement.
The order for Neymar to stand trial would dent both the player’s image and the Spanish club.
Barcelona hoped to sweep the case under the rug when they agreed to pay a fine of €5.5 million to the Spanish authorities in June 2016 and also ensure the club is cleared of tax evasion charges over the transfer.
Neymar is just another of Barca players to be entagled in legal issues with the Spanish authorities. Lionel Messi alongside his father were given 21-month suspended jail term in July 2016 for tax fraud on the player’s image rights. The defender Javier Maschero submitted to a one-year suspended sentence with the Spanish government for tax fraud this year.