Spanish prosecutors drop all fraud, corruption charges against Brazil forward Neymar

Spanish prosecutors have dropped all fraud and corruption charges against Brazil forward Neymar Jr in a trial over his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona, the public prosecutor told a court on Friday.

Prosecutors had initially sought a two-year jail term and a 10 million euro (£8.6m) fine for the 30-year-old footballer. But they have now announced the withdrawal of charges “against all the accused for all the allegations” they had faced.

The other defendants in the case included Neymar’s parents, the two clubs, former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues.

Last week, Neymar Jr told a court on Tuesday he did not participate in negotiations over his transfer to “childhood dream” club Barcelona from Santos nine years ago, but had signed what his father had told him to, a Sky Sports report said.

“I didn’t participate in the negotiations. My father always took care of it and always will. I sign everything he tells me to sign. Playing for Barcelona was always my dream, a childhood dream,” Neymar Jr told the court in Barcelona in his first testimony in the trial.

The case centred on an allegation made by Brazilian investment firm DIS, which acquired 40 percent of the rights to Neymar Jr when he was at Brazil’s Santos, that it lost out on its rightful cut from the transfer because the value of the deal was understated.

The alleged offence of which Neymar Jr and his family were accused of is also not punishable by law in Brazil.

A court document released in July alleged that Barcelona initiated negotiations in 2011 with the player, paying him 40m euros to ensure his move when his contract with Santos expired in 2014 and thereby preventing other clubs from signing him.

“Our intention was to prepare a career plan for him in Europe, in which we had in place already established, could learn the language, etc. And knowing his dream to play for Barcelona, we signed that priority agreement with them,” the player’s father, Neymar da Silva Santos, told the court.

Notably, Neymar Jr and his parents had the right not to testify but decided to do so, answering questions only from the prosecutor and not from their own lawyers.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, appearing as a witness via video link, told the court his club had made offers of 45m euros in 2011 and 36m euros in 2013 to sign Neymar but the player chose to join Barcelona instead.

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