Ney­mar nears trial over trans­fer cor­rup­tion case

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The prospect of Barcelona su­per­star Ney­mar stand­ing trial moved closer Mon­day as a Madrid judge ac­cepted an ap­peal by pros­e­cu­tors for cor­rup­tion charges to be brought against the Brazil­ian, a court fil­ing said.

The de­ci­sion over­turns a rul­ing in July that said ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties de­tected in the Brazil­ian’s 2013 trans­fer to Barcelona were an is­sue for a civil court, not a crim­i­nal court. Ney­mar’s parents, Barcelona pres­i­dent Josep Maria Bar­tomeu and his pre­de­ces­sor San­dro Rosell-who re­signed over the scan­dal in 2014 — also face cor­rup­tion charges.

Both the de­fence and pros­e­cu­tion have 10 days to present their ar­gu­ments be­fore a fi­nal de­ci­sion over whether the case will go to trial will be made, a state­ment from Spain’s Na­tional Court said.

Should he be found guilty, Ney­mar, 24, faces a prison sen­tence of be­tween six months and two years and a heavy fine. Ac­cord­ing to the judge’s find­ings, a pre-con­tract agree­ment be­tween Ney­mar and Barcelona by which the player re­ceived 40 mil­lion eu­ros ($44 mil­lion) in 2011 to ward off com­pet­ing clubs for his sig­na­ture “al­tered the free mar­ket of foot­ball trans­fers.”

Bar­tomeu and Rosell also stand ac­cused of fraud over the trans­fer. The case ini­ti­ated with a com­plaint from Brazil­ian in­vest­ment com­pany DIS, which owned 40 per­cent of Ney­mar’s sport­ing rights at the time of his trans­fer from San­tos. Barca ini­tially an­nounced the cost of the move at 57.1 mil­lion eu­ros, 17.1 mil­lion of which was paid to San­tos with the re­main­ing 40 mil­lion paid to N&N, a com­pany owned by Ney­mar’s fam­ily.

How­ever, Span­ish au­thor­i­ties be­lieve the real cost es­ca­lated to 83.3 mil­lion. DIS re­ceived 6.8 mil­lion eu­ros, 40 per­cent of the fee paid to San­tos. The com­pany be­lieve it was cheated of its real share be­cause part of the trans­fer fee was con­cealed by Barcelona and Ney­mar. More­over, DIS also ar­gued the pre-con­tract agree­ment be­tween Ney­mar and Barca im­peded other clubs from mak­ing of­fers for the player, af­fect­ing the value of the trans­fer fee.

The de­ci­sion is an­other blow to the im­age of the Span­ish cham­pi­ons and the player him­self.

Barca hoped to bring an end to the murky af­fair when the club agreed to pay a 5.5-mil­lion-euro fine in a deal with pros­e­cu­tors in June to set­tle a sep­a­rate case and en­sure the club avoided trial on tax-eva­sion charges over the trans­fer. Mean­while, Ney­mar also faces tax eva­sion charges in Brazil. —AFP


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