Neymar transfer investigation goes to court

Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:01am EST
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By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - The transfer of Neymar to Barcelona is to be investigated by a Spanish court over claims of misappropriation of funds and club president Sandro Rosell may be called to give evidence.

The Brazilian was paraded as a 57.1m euro signing by Barcelona from Santos in June last year but the details of the contract were not revealed due to a confidentiality agreement.

A hearing will now decide whether an wrongdoing took place after legal action was pursued by disgruntled fan Jordi Cases who had demanded a response from the club to his request for clarity over the high-profile transfer.

State prosecutors backed the legal challenge and called for a hearing, having decided that there was sufficient grounds to believe there could be a case of "contractual simulation" or distorting the final figures over what has to be paid.

They pointed to 40 million euros that was paid as part of the overall fee and went to a company owned by Neymar's father.

It caused the wrath of Rosell who has adamantly denied that any more than 57.1 million euros was paid.

In light of a claim by Spanish daily El Mundo on Monday that the figure was in fact 95 million euros, Rosell changed tack and from calling the judge to throw out the case he said he would be willing to give evidence and clear his name.

"Having anticipated you would ask about this, there are two points I would like to make," Rosell told a news conference on Monday. "The first is a reaffirmation that Neymar cost 57.1 million euros, full stop.   Continued...

Brazilian soccer player Neymar (R) shakes hands with Barcelona's president Sandor Rosell after signing a five-year contract with FC Barcelona, in front of their offices close to Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona in this June 3, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Albert Gea