Neymar’s life could get very complicated very soon.
Judge José Perals, Spain’s public prosecutor, is renewing the push to take Neymar and Barcelona to task over improprieties related to his transfer from Santos in 2013. If Perals gets his way, Neymar could spend the next two years in prison.
That deal between Santos and Barcelona was the basis for a lengthy investigation involving financial impropriety. At the time, 40% of Neymar’s playing rights were held by third party firm DIS. The firm alleged that Barcelona publicized a lower transfer fee than what was actually paid, and were thus cheated out of money they were owed. The scandal led to the resignation of Sandro Rosell— president of Barcelona at the time— as well as ongoing legal and financial troubles for the club, the player, and his family.
In June of this year Barcelona paid a €5.5m fine to settle a separate care in an effort to avoid tax evasion charges. That same month, the judge for the transfer fee incident shelved the case and the club thought the matter was settled. But Perals successfully appealed the settlement decision in September and has been pushing for harsher punishments. In addition to the two years in prison for Neymar that’s being floated, Perals is also seeking a five year prison sentence for Rosell and a fine of €8.4m to be levied against the club.
Neymar has paid in other ways for misconduct related to the case, but this is a whole new layer of peril for the Barcelona forward. Judge Perals doesn’t sound like he’s messing around, and prison is no joke. For his sake, Neymar better have some great representation.