Court makes final ruling on Neymar fraud case over 2013 Barcelona transfer

Jamie Spencer
Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison sentence for Neymar
Prosecutors had sought a two-year prison sentence for Neymar / JOHN THYS/GettyImages

Neymar has been acquitted by a Spanish court, along with other defendants, in a fraud and corruption case relating to his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona.

The case was brought by DIS, a firm that owned 40% of Neymar’s image rights while at Santos and alleged that the true value of the Barcelona transfer had been concealed, therefore costing them a portion of what they believed was their rightful cut of the deal.

Prosecutors had already dropped the charges against Neymar and the other defendants on trial at the end of October, with Luis Garcia Canton summarising to the court in Barcelona that ‘There is not the slightest hint of crime’.

The prosecution had been seeking a two-year prison sentence and €10m fine for Neymar, as well as a five-year jail term and €8.4m fine for ex-Barcelona president Sandro Rosell. Others prosecuted included Neymar’s parents and Santos’ former president. DIS wanted total fines of €149m issuing.

But, after nine long years, the chapter now appears to be over.

"It has not been proven that there was a false contract or that DIS was intended to be harmed," a court statement read.

Neymar had joined Santos at the age of 11 and later turned down interest from Real Madrid to remain in Brazil and make his first-team debut aged 17.

He played over 200 games in total, helping the club win the Copa Libertadores in 2011, before Barcelona won the race to bring him to Europe in 2013 by agreeing an initial €57.1m deal in 2013 - €17m was paid to Santos, with Neymar’s parents compensated to the tune of €40m, figures the Catalan club publicly disclosed in 2014 amid early allegations of concealing the real cost.

Neymar later became the most expensive player in history when Paris Saint-Germain triggered the €222m release clause in his contract at Camp Nou.