By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spain's public prosecutor has called for Barcelona soccer player Neymar to be sent to prison for two years for his part in a corruption case over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to the Liga champions in 2013, said a court filing on Wednesday.
Judge Jose Perals also called for a five-year sentence for former Barca president Sandro Rosell and a fine of 8.4 million euros ($8.9 million) for the club but called for charges against current president Josep Maria Bartomeu to be dropped.
Neymar has been under investigation for quite some time now and it all started when Brazilian agency DIS put in a complaint for not receiving the complete payment for his transfer with the organization owning 40% of his rights.
Rosell was involved in bringing Neymar to the club and after the scandal came to light he immediately resigned from his post. A two-year sentence could hamper his career at Barcelona but it might not come to that.
His case was re-opened in September by a public prosecutor after he won a ruling to overturn the original verdict. Barcelona settled the case in a £4.7m fine and avoided a court trial with judge Jose de la Mata archiving the case.
But now the Catalans will have to once again prepare a defence for Neymar and appeal the decision that has been taken. The club are also facing a similar situation their star man Lionel Messi who is also under investiagtion for tax evasion.
The Arentine was given a 2 year sentence in jail duing the summer when he was with Argentina for the Copa America. HIs represnetaives appealed the decision in Spanish court which suspended his punishment.
It looks like Neyamr’s case won;t be so straighforward considering the club are also immensely involved in this scenario. For now the two players can and will continue playing for Barcelona but Neymar will be hpoping an appeal will be filed that could help him avoid jail term.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Ken Ferris)