Why is Neymar in court? PSG and Brazil star begins Barcelona court case on charges that date back to 2013

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Just hours after scoring the only goal as Paris Saint-Germain beat bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille 1-0 in Ligue 1’s Le Classique on Sunday, Neymar was in court in Barcelona on Monday. The Brazil international appeared in Barcelona with eight others to face fraud and corruption charges which date back to 2013 and his move from Santos to the Catalan giants. Neymar, according to Reuters, spent a couple of hours in the courthouse before he was excused for the remainder of the day after arriving from Paris in the early hours after his Parc des Princes heroics.

We recap the situation and explain why the 30-year-old is being investigated.

Why is Neymar in court?

Brazilian investment firm DIS owned 40% of Neymar’s rights when he was a Santos player. DIS allege that his move from Brazil to Barcelona was incorrectly valued and understated. DIS are pushing the charges against him and Neymar is a named defendant alongside his parents, former Barca presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu as well as representatives of both clubs and Santos president Odilio Rodrigues. Reuters reports that all nine deny any wrongdoing.

Could Neymar be punished?

Complainant DIS said that they are demanding a five-year jail term for Neymar last Thursday. The Spanish prosecutors are looking at a two-year prison sentence with a $9.8 million fine for the player and a five-year term for Barca president Rosell at the time of Neymar’s arrival at Camp Nou in 2013. Rosell resigned from the position when the initial investigation was confirmed with Neymar’s father alleged to have pocketed a substantial amount above the officially declared transfer fee.

How long could this drag on?

Given that Neymar is slated to testify this Friday which is the same day that his current club PSG will play away at AC Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica in Ligue 1, it will at least go beyond this week. It is difficult to imagine that any verdict will be passed down immediately and then there will almost certainly be an appeals process. A likely estimate is that we are talking months as opposed to days and weeks — possibly longer given that this has been a disputed topic since 2014.

Is Neymar going to jail?

The allegations against Neymar and the other defendants are serious, but it is early days. You would have to imagine that some compromise will be reached which sees DIS compensated and Neymar avoid prison time, but it depends how events unfold in the Barcelona court this week and beyond that. Also, it is Neymar’s father who is alleged to have profited the most from this deal and not Neymar himself.

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