Pros­e­cu­tors seek to pun­ish Ney­mar over Barcelona trans­fer

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Span­ish pros­e­cu­tors want to pun­ish Ney­mar, his fa­ther, Barcelona, and the player's Brazil­ian club be­cause of an in­vest­ment group's claim that they con­cealed the value of the star's trans­fer fee.

Pros­e­cu­tors said yes­ter­day they are seek­ing a two-year prison sen­tence and a $10.6 mil­lion fine for Ney­mar and his fa­ther on cor­rup­tion charges, although they are not likely to face any jail time be­cause in Spain sen­tences of less than two years for first of­fences are usu­ally sus­pended.

Pros­e­cu­tors also want to pun­ish for­mer Barcelona pres­i­dent San­dro Rosell on cor­rup­tion and fraud charges, which could lead to up to five years in prison and the same $10.6 mil­lion fine. The for­mer pres­i­dent of Brazil­ian club San­tos, Odilio Ro­drigues, is fac­ing a three-year prison sen­tence on fraud charges.

They are all set to stand trial af­ter a com­plaint brought by Brazil­ian in­vest­ment group DIS, which was en­ti­tled to 40 per­cent of Ney­mar's trans­fer from Brazil­ian club San­tos in 2013 but said it re­ceived a smaller com­pen­sa­tion be­cause part of the trans­fer fee was con­cealed.

Pros­e­cu­tors seek a fine of $8.9 mil­lion from Barcelona and $7.4 mil­lion from San­tos.

DIS has de­manded a five-year prison sen­tence for Ney­mar and his par­ents, and an eight-year sen­tence for Rosell and cur­rent Barcelona pres­i­dent Josep Maria Bar­tomeu.

It also seeks a fine from Barcelona that could reach more than $200 mil­lion, and wants Ney­mar to be tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended from play­ing guilty.

A judge this month ac­cepted charges against Bar­tomeu, but pros­e­cu­tors spared him on Wed­nes­day, say­ing he did not di­rectly par­tic­i­pate in the ne­go­ti­a­tions re­lated to Ney­mar's trans­fer.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Rosell, Ro­drigues, Barcelona, and San­tos must re­pay nearly $3.4 mil­lion to DIS.

Pros­e­cu­tors want a one-year prison sen­tence and a $10.6 mil­lion fine for Ney­mar's mother, who co-owns one of her hus­band's com­pa­nies rep­re­sent­ing Ney­mar. Pros­e­cu­tors want the com­pany to pay a fine of $1.4 mil­lion.

Ney­mar and his fa­ther, who acts as the player's agent, ap­peared in a Madrid court in Fe­bru­ary to de­fend them­selves. All other par­ties be­ing ac­cused by pros­e­cu­tors also have de­nied wrong­do­ing.

In July, Barcelona mid­fielder Lionel Messi and his fa­ther were sen­tenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud, but were not sent to jail.

In June, Barcelona paid a fine of $5.8 mil­lion in a sep­a­rate case af­ter ac­knowl­edg­ing to Spain's tax au­thor­i­ties it made "an er­ror in the fis­cal plan­ning of the player's trans­fer."

Ear­lier this year, a Na­tional Court judge shelved the com­plaint made by the Brazil­ian in­vest­ment fund, but the de­ci­sion was ap­pealed and a group of judges even­tu­ally ruled that there was enough ev­i­dence to keep the case open. if found

Barcelona said the price of Ney­mar's trans­fer was 57.1 mil­lion eu­ros ($60.6 mil­lion), with San­tos re­ceiv­ing 17.1 mil­lion eu­ros ($18.1 mil­lion). Pros­e­cu­tors said the to­tal amount paid by the Span­ish club to San­tos was 25.1 mil­lion eu­ros ($26.6 mil­lion), mean­ing DIS would be en­ti­tled to an ad­di­tional 3.2 mil­lion eu­ros ($3.4 mil­lion).

Pros­e­cu­tors said the dif­fer­ence comes from pay­ments made by Barcelona for the fu­ture ac­qui­si­tions of other play­ers, as well as part­ner­ships for friendly matches be­tween the clubs.

DIS paid 5 mil­lion re­als ($1.6 mil­lion) for its 40 per­cent of Ney­mar's rights in 2009.

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