Latin America & Caribbean

Neymar rape accuser appears in Brazil TV interview

Neymar was injured playing for Brazil on Wednesday Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Neymar has denied allegations that he raped Najila Trindade in a Paris hotel

A woman has appeared on Brazilian TV to go public with accusations that she was raped by star footballer Neymar.

Najila Trindade, who filed a rape allegation last Friday, told SBT Brasil the incident in a Paris hotel on 15 May was "an assault together with rape".

Neymar has denied the accusations, posting a WhatsApp message exchange to try to prove his innocence.

He appeared briefly to play for Brazil on Wednesday in a game he said was the most difficult of his career.

Neymar was injured after 20 minutes of the match against Qatar in Brasilia and will miss the upcoming 2019 Copa America tournament in Brazil with a ruptured ankle ligament.

What was said in the TV interview?

Ms Trindade says she was attracted to the Paris St-Germain and Brazil forward and wanted to have sex with him.

She said she was flown to Paris and put up in a hotel at Neymar's expense.

Ms Trindade said she was an "ordinary person - a model and a student of interior design" and a "daughter and mother".

The interviewer asked Ms Trindade whether what happened was an assault or rape, and Ms Trindade replied that it was "an assault together with rape".

She said that when she met Neymar, he was "aggressive, totally different than the boy that I got to know through the messages".

Ms Trindade said she was initially prepared for consensual sex but demanded the use of a condom. She alleged that Neymar refused, became aggressive again and raped her. She said she told him to stop but he refused.

SBT published part of the interview on Twitter (in Portuguese).

Video has surfaced. What does it show?

The video footage shows an altercation purported to be between Ms Trindade and Neymar in a hotel room, reportedly filmed by Ms Trindade.

The pair lie down on a bed, after which the woman stands and starts to slap the man, who defends himself with his feet.

The woman says: "I'm going to hit you, you know why. Because you beat me up yesterday", suggesting the altercation was a second meeting. Neymar has said that he and Ms Trindade met twice.

In the SBT interview, Ms Trindade said she only began to understand everything that had happened to her after the first meeting ended, and that she returned because she wanted to prove the events and "wanted justice".

The video was shown on the Brazilian channel TV Record.

What has Neymar said?

Neymar has not commented so far on the TV interview. His father, Neymar dos Santos, was interviewed by TV Record about the hotel room footage and he said it was clearly a set-up that proved his son was innocent.

In an earlier statement, Neymar's management called the accusations "unjust" and said the footballer had been the "victim of an attempted extortion".

Neymar repeated the extortion accusation in a seven-minute video on his Instagram page.

Speaking in Portuguese, the footballer said: "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 showed what he claimed were a long series of WhatsApp messages with Ms Trindade, including intimate photographs of her.

He said he had to make them public to "prove that nothing really happened". In her interview, Ms Trindade denied accusations of extortion, saying: "I want justice, not financial compensation."

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro visited Neymar in hospital after the footballer's injury on Wednesday, wishing him "a good and speedy recovery". Mr Bolsonaro said earlier: "He is in a difficult moment, but I believe in him."

Meanwhile. Mastercard announced that it would suspend an advertising campaign featuring Neymar. The firm said it would not use the footballer in its adverts until the situation was "cleared up"

What's the legal situation?

The lawyers who first represented Ms Trindade say her initial complaint was of "aggression" or "physical violence" by Neymar. They said they had discussed a settlement with Neymar's lawyers but that those lawyers then rejected it. The two legal teams dispute who initially asked for the meeting.

Ms Trindade then filed a rape allegation in São Paulo last Friday. Her lawyers said the allegation was "incompatible with the strategy" they had agreed, and they parted company with her on Saturday. She now has new representation.

In her interview, Ms Trindade said of a lawyer in her first legal team: "He didn't fully believe me. I felt he was prejudiced. He portrayed it as if I'd not been raped, that I had wanted it."

Neymar could also face investigation over publishing the images of Ms Trindade without her permission, as the act may infringe laws designed to protect privacy.

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