Spanish prosecutors call for Neymar to serve two-year prison sentence

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Authorities in Spain are seeking a two-year prison sentence for Barcelona forward Neymar in relation to his transfer to the club from Santos in 2013. Additionally, prosecutors called for a $10.6 million fine as well as identical punishment for Neymar’s father. Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell faces a stiffer punishment of an additional three years for fraud charges.

The claims stem from alleged irregularities in Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona, with Brazilian investment group DIS alleging that a portion of the transfer fee was concealed. As DIS owned 40 percent of Neymar’s transfer rights, the group contends that they were misled as to the total purchase price for Neymar and thus didn’t receive their fair share of the fee.

Per the Associated Press:

Barcelona said the price of Neymar's transfer was 57.1 million euros ($60.6 million), with Santos receiving 17.1 million euros ($18.1 million). Prosecutors said the total amount paid by the Spanish club to Santos was 25.1 million euros ($26.6 million), meaning DIS would be entitled to an additional 3.2 million euros ($3.4 million).

As it stands, though, Neymar and his father likely won’t see jail time even if the two-year sentences are upheld. In the Spanish legal system, sentences of two years or under are typically suspended for first-time offenders. A very similar situation happened with Neymar’s teammate, Lionel Messi. Messi and his father were sentenced to 21 months apiece for tax fraud, but neither saw time behind bars.

While it’s highly unlikely Neymar will serve time, it’s clear that Barcelona and their stars need to start getting a better hold on their finances.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report