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Neymar faces jail-term request in corruption and fraud trial.

Neymar faces jail-term request in corruption and fraud trial.

Brazil forward Neymar will stand trial next week on fraud and corruption charges over his transfer to Barcelona from Santos in 2013 and the complainant, Brazilian investment firm DIS, said on Thursday it was demanding a five-year jail term.

Neymar

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Along with Neymar, the defendants in the trial being brought by Spanish prosecutors, which begins in Barcelona on Monday, are his parents, the two clubs, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.

The issue originates from a complaint filed by DIS, a Brazilian business that owned 40% of Neymar’s rights while he was at Santos. It claims it was cheated out of its legitimate share of the transfer since the genuine value of the transaction was overstated.

Neymar has disputed the charges, but in 2017, he lost an appeal in Spain’s High Court, paving the way for the trial.

Reuters has reached out to Neymar’s and his parents’ representatives for comment.

Rosell has previously denied all allegations of impropriety. A request for comment from his agents was not returned.

Barcelona and Bartomeu’s lawyers declined to comment on the case. Santos did not react immediately to a request for comment, while Rodrigues could not be reached.

DIS also wants Rosell and Bartomeu imprisoned and fined €149 million.

Prosecutors in Spain are seeking a two-year prison sentence for Neymar as well as a €10 million fine, as well as a five-year prison sentence for Rosell as well as an 8.4 million euro fine for the Spanish club.

DIS acquired 40 per cent of Neymar’s rights when he was aged €17 in exchange for €2 million. It argues that the player’s sale to Barcelona was well below his real market value.

Barcelona said at the time of Neymar’s move that the transfer figure was €57.1 million, of which €40 million was paid to Neymar’s family.

DIS received a 40 per cent share of the remaining €17.1 million that was paid to Santos.

“Neymar’s rights have not been sold to the highest bidder. There were clubs that offered up to 60 million euros,” DIS lawyer Paulo Nasser told a news conference in Barcelona on Thursday.

The court in Barcelona where the trial will be held said Neymar will have to appear in-person on Monday for the first day but it is unclear if he will be asked to stay for the whole hearing that could go on for two weeks.

Neymar, his parents, Rosell and Bartomeu will start their testimony next Friday.

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Daniel Mathias

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