HomeBusinessFinanceBarcelona legend Dani Alves formally indicted in nightclub sexual assault case

Barcelona legend Dani Alves formally indicted in nightclub sexual assault case

Brazil defender Dani Alves AFP / Ulises Ruiz

FC Barcelona legend Dani Alves has been formally indicted by a Spanish judge over sexual assault allegations that were brought against him over the New Year. The Brazilian footballer was arrested in Spain on January 19, 2023 and has remained imprisoned since. He is not expected to make an appeal against the indictment and is only hoping to expedite the trial and move forward with the case.

What are the charges against Alves?

Alves has been accused of rape by a 23-year-old woman that he met at the Sutton nightclub in Barcelona during the New Year’s Eve celebrations at the end of December 2022. He went back to Mexico where he joined Liga MX side Pumas UNAM, but returned to Spain just a few weeks later to accompany his wife, Joana Sanz, at the funeral of her mother. It was during this trip that he was arrested.

A judge then deemed that there was enough evidence to proceed with the case and Alves was denied bail on the grounds that his dual citizenship and substantial fortune made it possible for him to abscond.

His legal team had attempted multiple times to ask for his release during the pre-trial period, even volunteering to surrender his passport. Alves also volunteered to wear a tracking device but his appeals were all rejected. As such, he has now spent almost seven months at the Brians 2 prison in Barcelona.

Alves had varying versions of the incident

The indictment was confirmed after the judge said she “had found evidence of wrongdoing by the 40-year-old.”

It may be remembered that the alleged victim did not hesitate to file a complaint on the night of the said incident and was immediately assisted by the nightclub staff. Police arrived to gather evidence at the club and more importantly, at the VIP toilet where the woman claims she was raped. She was also taken to a clinic by ambulance that same night, allowing medical examiners to gather evidence from her body.

Alves had initially denied even knowing the woman, but after evidence was found on the scene and on the victim’s body, he was forced to admit that he had sexual relations with the woman. He claimed that he denied the incident in an effort to hide his infidelity from his wife. He later changed his testimony to say that the act was consensual.

The footballer’s team used CCTV footage from the nightclub to show the woman flirting with Alves that night. It also showed Alves heading to the bathroom by himself, with the woman following some minutes later of her own free will.

However, the judge did not agree that the woman’s actions constituted consent.

He was summoned back to court around noon on August 2 but he refused to make any further statements in front of magistrate Concepción Cantón regarding the incident.

What happens to Alves now?

Following the indictment, Alves and his lawyers have decided against another appeal which would slow down the process further. They technically have three business days to file an appeal, but they simply want the case to be expedited. “Alves is upset with the narrative of the facts. He disagrees with it,” said his lawyer Cristobal Martell.

Alves, the most decorated player in history alongside Lionel Messi, must now wait for the prosecution to submit formal charges against him. A date for the trial will then be set, which is expected to take place later in 2023 or in early 2024. During this whole period, Alves is expected to remain in jail. This is why Alves is not pushing for any further delays in the proceedings.

If convicted, Alves is facing between four to fifteen years in prison.

Needless to say, his football career is effectively over. Pumas terminated his contract with immediate effect after his arrest in January. After a short stint back with Barcelona last year, he will be hard pressed to find a new club even if he is eventually found innocent and released.

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