Neymar, Barcelona Accused of Corruption as Ex-3rd-Party Owners Demand Jail Time

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2017

FC Barcelona's Neymar reacts during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, March 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Delcir Sonda, former owner of 40 per cent of Neymar's rights, is taking the Barcelona star to court for fraud and having "betrayed" him, and he believes "supporting Neymar is supporting corruption."

Per Santi Gimenez of AS, Sonda's Brazilian supermarket chain, DIS Group, is taking action against the player and the Catalan giants, as well as club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and predecessor Sandro Rosell, in the Spanish High Court. He said:

I never thought I'd sue the boy I loved so much, but Neymar, his father and his mother betrayed me, they've committed a crime with the help of Barcelona and they've committed fraud.

...

Supporting Neymar is supporting corruption and he's a terrible example to the children who wear his shirt.

DIS bought his rights in 2009 and were entitled to 40 per cent of his transfer from Santos to Barcelona, and they believe Neymar and the club conspired to falsify the fee involved.

The Spanish side said they signed Neymar for €17.1 million, a significantly lower fee than his €65 million release clause from Santos.

DIS are aiming to prove Neymar's father was bribed with €40 million by Rosell to prevent the player from holding talks with other clubs.

Per ESPN FC's Samuel Marsden, the Blaugrana initially reported the total fee as €57.1 million, comprised of the €17.1 million to Santos and €40 million to Neymar's father, though Bartomeu revealed the overall cost of the deal was €108.7 million.

In September, DIS were able to successfully argue both the player and his family "were aware of potentially fraudulent dealings" between the two clubs and in November it was determined they would stand trial regarding the matter.

The group also took issue with the 25-year-old playing for Santos against Barcelona in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup finalallegedly after the latter had already paid him €10 millionwith Neymar said to have knowingly broken "all FIFA rules" on the matter.

Neymar playing for Santos in 2013, the year he moved to Barcelona.
Neymar playing for Santos in 2013, the year he moved to Barcelona.Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

Neymar signed a contract with DIS at the age of 17, before he'd even made his Santos debut, in which he received 18 times his salary at the time in return for DIS getting the percentage of any future transfer fee.

Barcelona are being sued for €195 million, but DIS are more interested in harsh punishments on those involved—a five-year prison sentence for Neymar, including a ban on playing for EU clubs, and eight-year sentences for Bartomeu and Rosell—and so any money won in the court case will go to the Brazilian state.

Appeals from the player, club and Rosell have thus far been turned down, and so the trial will commence at some point later this year with the Spanish High Court yet to determine a date.

The court are yet to announce whether the appeal of Bartomeu, who replaced Rosell as president in 2014 upon his resignation, will be upheld or rejected.

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