Footballer Neymar denies rape accusation
Brazilian football star Neymar has denied an accusation that he raped a woman in Paris.
According to a police report filed in São Paulo, the woman alleges that the attack took place in a hotel in the French capital, where Neymar plays for Paris St-Germain (PSG).
Neymar sought to prove his innocence by posting what he says is an exchange of Whatsapp messages between the pair.
He is now in Brazil training with the national team for the Copa América.
What are the allegations?
According to police documents, the woman – who has not been named – got to know Neymar on Instagram and he suggested they meet in Paris.
He provided her with an air ticket from Brazil to France and a reservation at a luxury hotel in Paris.
When Neymar came to the hotel on 15 May, he was “apparently drunk”, the woman alleges.
After conversation and embraces, “at some point, Neymar became aggressive, and through violence, engaged in sexual intercourse against the will of the victim”, the police document states.
The woman returned to Brazil two days later, without reporting the alleged incident to French police, because she was “emotionally shaken and afraid to register the facts in another country”, the document continues.
What does Neymar say?
In a statement released after the accusations became public, the footballer's management condemned “the unjust accusations and, above all, the exposure in the press of an extremely negative situation”.
The statement said Neymar had been the “victim of an attempted extortion” and “evidence of attempted extortion and non-rape will be submitted to the police authorities”.
Neymar directly addressed the allegations in a seven-minute video on his Instagram page.
The unmarried footballer posted the video alongside the caption (in Portuguese): “Due to extortion, I'm being forced to expose my life and my family..”
Speaking in Portuguese, the footballer said: “I'm very upset but from now on I'll expose or tell all about what happened with that girl. It was an intimate thing but I have to open myself up to prove that nothing exceptional happened.
“What happened that day was a relationship between a man and a woman, within four walls, like with any couple. And the next day nothing much happened. We kept exchanging messages. She asked me for a souvenir for [her child].”
During the video, the 27-year-old shows what he claims to be a long series of WhatsApp messages with the woman, including photographs of her in her underwear.
He says he had to make them public to “prove that nothing really happened”.
Neymar's father, Neymar dos Santos, also dismissed the allegations, telling Band TV in Brazil on Saturday that “it is clear that it was a trap”.
Is Neymar ready for the Copa América?
The PSG forward has been stripped of the captaincy of Brazil, following recent disciplinary issues.
French football authorities banned Neymar from three matches after he hit a fan following PSG's defeat by Rennes in the Coupe de France final last month.
He was also reportedly involved in a dressing room brawl.
The Copa América – South America's national team championship – takes place in Brazil from 14 June to 7 July, with the hosts taking on Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru in Group A.
Neymar had to stop training on Tuesday when he suffered a knee strain, although the injury was not thought to be serious.
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