There are allegations of irregularities in Neymar's move to Barcelona over a decade ago, and the trial is slated to begin in Spain a month before the World Cup starts in Qatar in November. After years of legal wrangling, the 30-year-old star's move from Brazilian side Santos in 2013 will finally go to trial.
The trial launched by Spanish prosecutors starts on Monday in Barcelona, and it includes Neymar, his parents, the two clubs, former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues as suspects.
The trial is scheduled to end on October 31, just over three weeks before the start of the World Cup on November 20; the Paris Saint-Germain star will lead Brazil in their Group G opening match against Serbia on November 24.
Why Neymar will stand trial and could face possible jail time?
Neymar, a key component of the Brazilian squad headed to next month's World Cup in Qatar, has disputed the charge. However, he lost an appeal in Spain's High Court in 2017, clearing the way for the trial to proceed.
The case was originally initiated by DIS, which had 40 percent of the rights to the Brazilian international when he was playing with Santos. They claim that Barcelona paid much less than what the player was really worth when they acquired him.
Despite Barcelona's claim that the deal cost €57.1 million, investigators estimate that it really set them back at least €83 million. According to the club's statement, they sent out €40 million to N&N, a firm controlled by the forward's family, and €17.1 million to the Brazilian club, of which €6.8 million were provided to DIS.
DIS claims that the trio of Neymar, Barcelona, and Santos intentionally misrepresented the transfer cost in order to reduce their financial gain. Since the plaintiff, DIS, is based in Brazil, Neymar's attorneys argue that the charge of "private corruption," with which their client is charged, does not apply.
The former Barcelona superstar faces two years in prison and a fine of €10 million from Spanish authorities, while Rosell faces five years in prison, and the Blaugrana face a fine of €8.4 million. In addition, DIS is seeking prison time for Rosell and Bartomeu as well as a total fine of €149 million.