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Brazilian Police Recommend Not Charging Neymar in Rape Inquiry


The police official in Brazil who was investigating a rape claim against the soccer star Neymar has recommended that prosecutors close the case. The investigator said the police had failed to find enough evidence to substantiate an accusation made by a Brazilian model that she was attacked by Neymar, the Paris St.-Germain forward, in a hotel room in Paris.

“I concluded the investigation yesterday and decided not to indict the investigated because of an absence of sufficient evidence to do so,” the police investigator, Juliana Lopes Bussacos, told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

The decision by the police does not end the case, which has transfixed Brazil since news of the investigation into Neymar, an athlete whose celebrity in South America’s most populous country transcends soccer, first broke in May. The police file has been passed to the state prosecutor’s office, which will make a final decision on whether to proceed with charges. Prosecutors have 15 days to make a decision.

For Neymar, the investigation came at the end of a season in which he faced numerous disciplinary and injury issues and missed crucial games for P.S.G., his French club team, and Brazil, which won the Copa América — the South American championship — without him in July after he was ruled out with an injury.

Neymar joined P.S.G. in 2017 for a world-record fee with the expectation that he would lead the club closer to the Champions League title it covets. But relations between the player and the club have soured in the last year. Neymar has indicated his desire to leave the club, and the club has reportedly concluded that he is free to leave should it receive an acceptable offer. Neymar is currently in Asia with P.S.G., where the team is touring as part of its preseason.

While Neymar has been cleared of rape by the police, the details of the case shined an unwelcome light on his lifestyle away from the field. After meeting his accuser on social media, Neymar arranged for the woman, Najila Trindade, a Brazilian model, to travel to Paris, where he booked a room for her in a luxury hotel. A few days later, Trindade returned to Brazil, where she filed her rape allegation. In an effort to defend himself, Neymar published a series of sexually explicit messages he exchanged with Trindade on social media, including seminude images of his accuser; his team has suggested any sexual contact between the two was consensual.

The attention led to a backlash against Neymar on social media and to pressure on his sponsors. Some of them scrapped or suspended promotional campaigns involving him while the investigation continued.

The police commissioner involved in the case, Monique Ferreira Lima, said an investigation into whether Trindade made a false allegation and tried to extort Neymar would continue. A separate investigation into Neymar for his actions in releasing his online exchanges with Trindade and her images in his own posts remains ongoing.

At Tuesday’s news conference, Bussacos, the police investigator, provided details of the investigation. She said the police reviewed forensic, medical and electronic communications and interviewed Trindade on three occasions. Neymar was questioned by the police in June as he prepared for the Copa América.

The investigation threatened to engulf the buildup to that tournament before Neymar was forced to withdraw with an injury. He watched from the sideline as Brazil secured the title on home soil, its first South American championship victory in 12 years.


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