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Troubled Neymar's rape denial prompts police probe

China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-04 09:03
After denying an accusation of rape, the Brazilian football star Neymar trains with his national team in Teresopolis, Brazil, June 2, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian superstar Neymar has responded to a woman's allegation he raped her in Paris by issuing social media posts meant to show the accuser sent friendly messages following the alleged attack.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward arrived by helicopter in Teresopolis, Brazil, where he joined the national team in training for the Copa America tournament that starts on June 14 in Brazil, but he made no comment to the media.

Police agents from the Rio de Janeiro state cyber-crimes unit visited the training ground and the police communications department confirmed by email they would "investigate the supposed disclosure of a video on the part of Neymar". However, police gave no further details.

According to a Brazilian police report obtained on Saturday by Associated Press, the Brazilian woman, who was not identified, told officers the incident took place on May 15 at 8:20 pm at the Sofitel Paris Arc De Triomphe hotel. The woman went to police in Sao Paulo on Friday.

Sao Paulo state's Public Security Secretariat, which oversees police, confirmed that the complaint was registered, but said the investigation is confidential.

The woman told police she had exchanged Instagram messages with Neymar, was invited to Paris by one of his representatives and was booked into a hotel. There, she said, they "touched each other, but in a given moment Neymar became aggressive and, with violence, had sexual intercourse against the victim's will".

She said she left Paris two days later and said she did not file her complaint in Paris because she was shaken.

Neymar, 27, strongly denied the allegation.

"There was a relationship between a man and a woman between four walls. On the next day nothing happened," the striker said. "I hope investigators read the messages and see what happened."

He posted an Instagram video on Saturday showing messages and photos he said he received from the woman in a move to bolster his assertion the encounter was consensual.

The messages include at least one dated May 16, with no reference to the alleged assault.

Associated Press could not confirm that the woman mentioned in the Instagram post was the person who filed the police complaint.

Earlier, the player's his father and agent, Neymar da Silva Santos, told Brazil's TV Band his son had been blackmailed by the accuser's lawyer.

The Paris police and the city prosecutor's office said through spokesmen that they were unaware of any complaint.

During a post-training media conference, Brazil midfielder Fernandinho said he had heard about the allegation against Neymar "with great sadness and surprise".

"I am convinced that the case will be cleared up as quickly as possible. I believe in Neymar's innocence," the Manchester City player said.

Neymar has had problems on and off the pitch recently. One week before the accusation of rape became known, he lost the Brazil national team's captaincy for the Copa America to veteran Dani Alves. Coach Tite did not lay out the reasons for the move, but he was under pressure to punish Neymar for his disciplinary problems at Paris Saint-Germain.

After PSG lost the French Cup final to minnow Rennes on April 27, Neymar had an altercation with a fan and publicly criticized teammates he didn't name for not listening to him enough.

That was one of his first matches since January, when he picked up a fifth metatarsal injury in his rightfoot - the same sort of injury that affected his performances in last summer's World Cup.

Associated Press

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