Barcelona star Neymar summoned to appear in fraud court case

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 11: FIFA Ballon d'Or nominee Neymar Jr of Brazil and FC Barcelona attends a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or Ga
Image: Brazil star Neymar has been ordered to appear in court

Barcelona forward Neymar has been ordered to appear in a Spanish court next month as one of the defendants in a fraud case brought by Brazilian investment fund DIS.

The firm alleges it was the victim when Barca signed the player, third in the latest Ballon d'Or poll, from Brazilian club Santos.

A judge in Madrid, acting on a request from the state prosecutor, ordered Neymar, his parents, former Barca president Sandro Rosell, incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu and two former Santos officials to present themselves on February 1 and 2.

Javier Faus, a former Barca vice president, was called to appear as a witness.

"The judge ... believes that the prosecutor's requests are 'relevant, necessary and balanced' for them to require an examination of the facts," a court statement read.

Neither Barcelona, Neymar or any of the other defendants could immediately be reached for comment.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 23:  FCB Vice-President Josep Maria Bartomeu (R) hugs FCB President Sandro Rosell after the press conference announcing his resg
Image: Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell (left) and incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu (right) have also ordered to appear in court

The club has said it acted "fully within the law" and rejected the accusations contained in the DIS suit.

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The fund, which owned 40 per cent of Neymar's rights when he was at Santos, alleges it was paid far less than it was entitled to when the player agreed to join Barcelona in 2013.

The complaint was the latest twist to a saga that has also led to Barca, Rosell and Bartomeu facing trial for tax fraud. Bartomeu was a vice president under Rosell when Neymar was signed in a complex deal involving multiple contracts.

Neymar Da Silva Santos, father of Neymar JR, gives the thumbs up as he leaves the Spanish Nathional Court
Image: Neymar Da Silva Santos, father of Neymar, has also been summonded to appear in court

Bartomeu, Rosell, who resigned following the allegations, and the club have been accused of defrauding the tax office of some €13m (£9.77m). All three have denied any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of two years and three months for Bartomeu and seven-and-a-half years for Rosell, plus fines and payments of outstanding taxes totalling more than €60m.

The tax probe was launched after a club member questioned the figures given for the Neymar deal. Barca initially said they paid €57.1m but later admitted the cost was nearer €100m.

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