Brazilian player maker Neymar and his club Barcelona will stand trial on corruption charges over his transfer from Santos, a football club in Brazil, after losing a final appeal.
Barcelona, Brazilian club Santos and the company run by Neymar’s parents also lost their appeals and will stand trial after a complaint brought by Brazilian investment group (DIS).
The trial is not unconnected to a complaint from DIS, which owned 40% of Neymar’s transfer rights.
The investment group claims it received less money than it was entitled to when Neymar joined Barca from Santos for £49m in 2013.
Santos, Neymar’s mother and a company run by the 25-year-old footballer’s parents will also face charges.
“Santos FC, Barcelona FC, Neymar, his mother Nadine Goncalves and N&N, the family company, have lost their appeals to have charges of fraud and corruption dropped,” the Spanish High Court said in a statement.
Prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison sentence and a fine of nearly 10 million euros for Neymar and his father on corruption charges, although they are not likely to face any jail time if found guilty because they would be first-time offenders.
Prosecutors are also seeking a fine of about €9m from Barcelona and €7m from Santos.
Barca thought they had brought the affair to a close when a judge archived the case in June, but Spain’s public prosecutor successfully overturned the ruling in September, allowing the case to proceed.
Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi was sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud in July of last year. He has appealed against the sentence.