Police probe as Neymar uses social media against rape claim

By The Canadian Press
June 2, 2019 - 12:30pm

RIO DE JANEIRO — Soccer star 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, and police turned up at a training session on Sunday to investigate.

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 June 14 in Brazil, but he made no comment to the news 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." But it gave no further details.

According to a Brazilian police report obtained Saturday by The Associated Press, the Brazilian woman, who was not identified, told officers the incident took place May 15 at 8:20 p.m. 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 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.

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

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

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

During a post-training news 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 tiny 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 once more picked up a fifth metatarsal injury in his right-foot — the same sort of injury that affected his performances in the last World Cup.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Marcelo De Sousa, The Associated Press

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