Brazilian striker Neymar will be tried next week on fraud and corruption charges over his transfer to Barcelona from Santos in 2013 and the whistleblower, Brazilian investment firm DIS, said on Thursday it was demanding a five-year prison sentence. .
Along with Neymar, the defendants in the trial initiated by the Spanish prosecutor's office, which begins on Monday in Barcelona, are his parents, the two clubs, the former presidents of Barça Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and the former president of Santos Odilio Rodrigues .
The case arises from a complaint by the DIS, which owned 40% of Neymar's rights when he was at Santos. The company argues that he lost his fair share of the transfer because the true value of the deal was underestimated.
Neymar, who is a key member of the Brazil squad heading to the World Cup in Qatar next month, has denied the allegations but lost an appeal in Spain's High Court of Justice in 2017, paving the way for way to judgment.
Baker McKenzie, who will defend Neymar and his family at trial, told Reuters they will argue that Spanish courts "lack jurisdiction to prosecute the Neymar family" since the transfer involved Brazilian citizens in Brazil. "The rules of free competition do not operate as the transfer from one club to another depends on the player's free will," a spokesman for Baker McKenzie told Reuters.
The Barcelona court where the trial will take place said Neymar will have to appear in person on Monday for the first day, but it is unclear whether he will be asked to stay for the entire hearing that could last two weeks. Neymar, his parents, Rosell and Bartomeu will begin their testimony next Friday.