A Spanish magistrate leading an investigation into alleged irregularities in Neymar’s move to Barcelona in 2013 said on Wednesday the Brazilian superstar could face up to six years in prison.
“The term imposed, in principle, could be between four and six years,” said a decree issued by judge Jose Maria Vazquez Honrubia.
Neymar, his parents, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell are all awaiting trial over alleged corruption concerning Neymar’s move to the Spanish La Liga giants in 2013.
The case, which follows a complaint by DIS, a Brazilian group which part-owned the rights to Neymar, surrounds allegations of “corruption” and “fraud” in the player’s move to Barcelona.
Neymar, now at French giants Paris Saint-Germain, moved to Barca in May 2013 for a reported fee of 57.1m euros.
While no financial details of the deal were revealed by either Barcelona or his Brazilian club FC Santos, Neymar’s parents were said to have received receive 40m euros and FC Santos 17.1m.
Rosell resigned from his post as president a week later and Barcelona subsequently revealed they had actually paid 86.2m euros for the Brazilian star.
Bartomeu, Rosell, Barcelona, FC Santos and its former president, Odilio Rodrigues Filho, are now expected to answer charges of fraud, according to the decree.
Because the prison term involved exceeds five years, three judges are set to preside over Neymar’s trial which is expected to be heard at the Audiencia Nacional, a high court with jurisdiction over Spanish territory as well as over international crimes which come under the jurisdiction of Spanish courts.