- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

MADRID (AP) - The Brazilian company that says it hasn’t been properly compensated for Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona wants him to come clean and put an end to his judicial problems in Spain and Brazil.

The co-founder of Grupo Sonda, which invested in Neymar early in his career, issued a public message to the player in a news conference on Thursday in Madrid, saying he risks having his career tainted by a crime.

“You are an exceptional player and I wouldn’t like to see you going down in history marked by a crime,” Delcir Sonda said. “Hopefully, you will show the same maturity that you have on the field and will put an end to your judicial problems in Brazil and Spain. No one deserves this.”

DIS, the investment group that belongs to Sonda, has claimed in court that it was financially damaged because Barcelona, Neymar, and Brazilian club Santos withheld the real amount of the player’s transfer fee in 2013. DIS was entitled to 40 percent of the total transfer amount.

Neymar and his father appeared before a judge in Madrid on Tuesday to testify in an investigation into the transfer. Former and current Barcelona presidents also were questioned by a judge this week, as well as representatives of Santos. They have all denied wrongdoing. The Brazilian club claims it also has been hurt in the transfer.

Sonda said Neymar’s father tried to re-buy Sonda’s 40 percent stake in the player for about 4 million euros ($4.4 million). At the time, though, Neymar’s value was already close to 60 million euros ($66 million), the group said. DIS paid nearly 2 million euros ($2.2 million) for its share on Neymar’s rights. Sonda said he felt “cheated” because his family used to have a personal relationship with the young player and his father.

“They thought we were fools,” Sonda said, “but now they are the ones sitting in front of a judge having to explain themselves. We have full confidence that the Spanish judicial system will solve this.”

Sonda said it was impossible for the 23-year-old Neymar not to know about what was happening regarding his contract negotiations, as reportedly claimed by his father in court. He said the group also doesn’t know whether there is any truth in his father’s claim that Neymar has an offer of 190 million euros ($210 million) from another club.

Neymar has also been facing problems with Brazil’s tax office, which last year froze assets related to him valued at about 189 million Brazilian reals ($43 million) because of allegations of tax evasion.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tazzoni

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