A 23-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by the Brazilian soccer star Dani Alves is relinquishing her right to financial compensation if he is found guilty, sources familiar with the investigation told EL PAÍS. Even though the judge has reminded her of her right to damages, the alleged victim said she just wants to ensure that justice is done and that the soccer player goes to prison.
Alves has been in pre-trial detention without bail since Friday afternoon, after the judge heard statements from the victim and the accused and analyzed the evidence compiled by the regional police force of Catalonia, the Mossos d’Esquadra. The alleged rape took place in the early hours of December 30 in the toilets of the VIP area at Sutton, a high-end nightclub in Barcelona.
The pre-trial prison order against Alves, 39, awarded credibility to the woman, whose statement was “forceful” and “persistent” and showed no contradictions. In court, she provided the same information she did on January 2, three days after the alleged events, when she filed the complaint. The regional newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya published part of the contents of that complaint, which this newspaper has accessed.
According to this version of events, the victim entered Sutton shortly before 2am with a friend and her cousin. They met some Mexican guys who invited them to go up to the VIP area. A waiter insistently asked them to change tables. “A friend of mine wants you to be there,” he indicated in the direction of a table where Dani Alves and a friend of his were sitting. The victim said in her statement that she did not know who Alves was until the Mexican men told her. The Brazilian soccer star, who has won 42 soccer titles, including three Champions Leagues with Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Brazil, took it as a joke and claimed that he played “pétanque in L’Hospitalet.”
But things quickly turned sour in the Sutton VIP lounge. According to the victim’s report, Alves, 39, offered the three young women a drink, then he stood behind the victim, very close to her. “It was grossing me out. From behind, he took my hand and put it on his penis, and I removed my hand,” she said. Alves then told her to go through a door that she didn’t know communicated with the bathroom in the VIP area, closed it and sat on the toilet. According to the victim’s version, the player forcefully grabbed her head and directed it at his penis with the intention of being fellated and he also slapped her. Instantly, he turned her on top of him and penetrated her “violently” until he ejaculated. Then he got up, got dressed and told her: “I’ll go out first.”
The victim came out looking shaken, announced to her friend and her cousin that they were leaving, burst into tears and, as they were walking out, explained what had happened to the doorman, who led her back in so that she could speak with a manager. She was treated at Hospital Clínic, whose medical report is one of the pieces of evidence in the case.
In contrast with the victim’s unswerving statements, Alves offered up to three different versions of events at a hearing that lasted about 45 minutes, according to judicial sources. Asked by the judge, he said that he was in the bathroom when the girl walked in and that there was no contact. To questions from the prosecutor, he said that when she walked in, he just stood there, not knowing what to do. And to questions from the private prosecution, he went further and attributed the sexual conduct to the victim. Alves said the girl jumped on him while he was in the toilet relieving himself and performed fellatio. And that if he hadn’t said anything about it, it was to “protect” her.
The judge underscored these contradictions as one more element to make the decision to send Alves to jail pending trial. Just a few days earlier, he had explained in a video that he sent to the Spanish television program Y ahora Sonsoles that he did not know the woman at all. “I’m very sorry, but I don’t know who that young lady is, I don’t know who she is, I’ve never seen her in my life.”
His statements in court are also not consistent with the evidence collected during the investigation by the Mossos d’Esquadra. When she filed the complaint, the young woman handed over to the police the black dress she was wearing on the night of the events – from which biological remains have been extracted – and she also authorized the extraction of DNA to compare with the samples found in the VIP area’s bathroom. Officers have taken statements from various witnesses and analyzed footage from the surveillance cameras, which, although they do not show images inside the bathroom, offer relevant contextual information.
The judge considered that Alves was a flight risk, in agreement with the prosecution and the victim’s lawyer, despite the fact that he had voluntarily come forward to testify from Mexico, where he was currently playing (Mexican club Pumas terminated Alves’ contract after hearing of his arrest in Spain). The judge noted that, given the seriousness of the facts – a sexual assault such as the one under investigation implies sentences of between four and 12 years in prison – the soccer player could be tempted to leave the country, especially considering that he has no roots there, that he has Brazilian nationality (a country with which Spain has no extradition agreement) and that he has enormous financial resources. The prosecution noted that, with his assets, Alves could even rent or buy a private plane and fly out without having to show his passport.
Alves’ salary at Pumas also came to light in the courtroom. The judge asked him how much he earned. Alves replied that he was making €30,000 a month. With the contract in hand, the judge corrected him and said that he was making €300,000 a month.
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