Neymar’s parents are also to be tried, along with Josep Maria Bartomeu -- current president of Barcelona -- the team’s former president Alexandre ‘Sandro’ Rosell and the two clubs for corrupt business practices and fraud, according to a court statement released Thursday.
The charges were brought on by Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned 40 percent of Neymar’s transfer rights. It said it received less money than it should have, and that Barcelona concealed the full transfer fees when Neymar moved from Santos in 2013.
The prosecution claims although the official transfer fee was 17.1 million euros ($18.7 million), Barcelona made secret payments to Neymar, with the total fee adding up to around 25.1 million ($27.5 million).
Besides allegedly cheating DIS out of its full payment and consequently the tax authorities, the move would have also broken FIFA rules for trading players, according to Spanish daily El Pais.
Prosecutors have recommended two years in prison for Neymar, according to local media. However, in Spain sentences of less than two years are often suspended for first-time offenders.
Neymar is not the first Barcelona player to get into trouble with the Spanish authorities. Last year, superstar Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month suspended sentence for tax fraud. Javier Mascherano, an Argentine defender, was also found guilty of tax fraud in 2016.