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After days of declarations in the trial of the so-called Neymar 2 case, centred on allegation of fraud in the player's signing which damaged the DIS investment fund, the final statement by the public prosecutor Luis García Cantón arrived this Friday morning. And at that point the prosecutor withdrew all the charges against all of the accused for corruption in the trial of the Brazilian footballer Neymar Junior. Thus, neither the two former FC Barcelona presidents, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, nor the ex-director of the Brazilian club Santos, Odilio Rodrigues, the three family members - Neymar Jr, his father and his mother - or the two clubs: none of them are any longer accused of having committed any crime by the public prosecutor.

A day that began hearing former Barça leaders

Today was scheduled to be the second-to-last day in the Neymar 2 trial at the Barcelona Audience. First up were the declarations from the last of the accused to testify: Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sergi Atienza testified on behalf of Barça this Friday. They distanced themselves from the signing of Neymar and denied having participated in the negotiations.

Sandro Rosell Josep Maria Bartomeu Sergi Atienza / Foto: Bernat Aguilar
Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sergi Atienza during the Neymar 2 trial / Photo: Bernat Aguilar

Then, after two weeks of statements from witnesses, defendants and experts, the prosecution finally had its say and, to everyone's surprise, declared that it was withdrawing the accusations against all the accused and for all the charges. A position that is in complete contrast to the initial demands made in the trial and the demands of the DIS company, which had 40% of the footballer's rights and which filed the initial complaint for not having collected the amount it understood it was due to receive for the signing of Neymar by FC Barcelona in 2013.

The prosecution was demanding five years' prison for Rosell, two for the footballer Neymar Jr (which the private accusation raises to five years) and his father, one year in prison for his mother (with regard to whom DIS has withdrawn its accusation and, therefore, she is acquitted), and three years in prison for the Santos club president for a crime of fraud. The public prosecution dropped its accusation against Bartomeu at the start of proceedings.

Neymar / Foto: Carlos Baglietto
Neymar Jr seated in the dock / Photo: Carlos Baglietto

The prosecutor drops all charges

And then came the turn of the prosecutor Luis García Cantón, who explained his decision to withdraw all the accusations against all of the defendants. First of all, he confirmed that "the accusations have not been proven" and that it was "a jurisdictional error", because "DIS should have gone to civil jurisdiction", since what was at issue in this trial was "about a breach of contract and not of criminal law".

In addition, the prosecutor emphasized that DIS "is demanding 40% of what they consider to be a bribe". And he stated that "an action is a crime or not a crime, and it is not dependent on the will of a third party", on which he asserted that DIS's case was based.

Therefore, he also remarked that "Barça wanted to beat off the competition" and that "what Barça did is not a bribe, it is a bonus for signing, the 40 million euros, which is common in the football world", and that the amount was paid to the company N&N, which represented Neymar. It was a type of negotiation that "is not prohibited and is not a crime", defended García Cantón. "Barça did what it had to do," he continued to say.

Judici Neymar segon dia arribada mirada / Foto: Carlos Baglietto
Neymar Jr arriving at the Barcelona Audiència court / Photo: Carlos Baglietto

The prosecutor, who at some points in his concluding remarks sounded as he if he was representing the defence, added that if Barça entered into negotiations before it was allowed to or not, this is now "a matter of the FIFA regulations and has nothing to do with criminal law". "It seems that in football, contracts are meant to be broken, and if you don't like those contracts, I've got others," he said, paraphrasing Groucho Marx.

And he also ended up dismantling the theory of the scam that the initial accusations had asserted, involving offers for three footballers, the Joan Gamper Trophy against Santos and a friendly match back in Brazil.

To finish, the prosecutor Luis García Cantón concluded that "there is not the slightest evidence of either of the two crimes for which the prosecution made the accusations and it requests the free acquittal of the accused".

Thus, the trial will continue to its final day on Monday, with only the charges brought by the private prosecution of the DIS investment fund still in play.



After the conclusions of the prosecutor, all the defence lawyers demanded that the costs of the trial should be paid by the private prosecution of the Brazilian company DIS for bringing about a "temerary trial".