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Neymar charged for corruption in Barcelona transfer could face up to 6 years in jail




Brazilian football super star Neymar could face up to six years in prison over corruption allegations linked to his 2013 transfer to Barcelona, according to reports.

The player, 26, is awaiting trial in Spain along with his parents, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and ex-Barca chief Sandro Rosell over allegations of irregularities when the player moved to Spain from Brazilian club Santos five years ago.

The authorities have now referred the case to the Criminal Chamber in front of three judges, meaning a sentence of more than five years can be imposed, according to reports in Spain.

A Spanish magistrate leading the investigation has warned that those involved could risk up to six years in prison should they be found guilty.

"The term imposed, in principle, could be between four and six years," said judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia, according to AFP.

Initial details of the transfer were closely guarded, but the fee was reported as being €57.1 million, with the player and his family reportedly receiving a €40 million chunk of that amount, while Santos pocketed €17.1 million.

However, after investigators began to probe the move, then-Barca boss Rosell resigned, and it emerged that the club had actually splashed out €86.2 million on the forward.

That led to a complaint from Brazilian group DIS, which part-owned rights to the player and claim they stood to earn 40 percent from the transfer.

The company alleges it was short-changed by supposed collusion between Barcelona and Santos over the true transfer fee.

Former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues Filho is expected to answer fraud charges, as are the Brazilian club, Barcelona, and Bartomeu and Rosell, according to reports.

Neymar was cleared of fraud last year, but the Spanish authorities said he should still stand trial over corruption allegations, although no date has been set.

The player himself has argued that the case should be heard in a Brazilian court, rather than a Spanish one.

Neymar left the Catalan giants for Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee of €222 million in the summer of 2017.

He is among numerous high-profile figures from the world of football to come under scrutiny from the Spanish authorities over financial affairs.

Former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho reportedly accepted a one-year suspended prison sentence and a €2 million fine as part of a tax fraud case earlier this year.

Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have also reportedly paid substantial fines over allegations of tax irregularities.
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