Neymar undergoes questioning by police, denies rape claim

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SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian soccer star Neymar spent about five hours at a police station Thursday to undergo questioning about rape allegations against him, one of the final steps in the investigation.

Prosecutor Flavia Merlini told journalists that the player "denies the accusations and responded (to questions) in a satisfactory way."

The woman who has accused him of raping her at a Paris hotel last month already spoke with police in Sao Paulo, which is where she filed her complaint.

Neymar was accompanied by his lawyers to the meeting Thursday.

"He answered all the questions," Merlini said. "From now on the investigator will take other necessary measures until the conclusion of the probe. Since the probe is secret, we cannot tell about those measures."

The lead investigator, Juliana Bussacos, will consider whether the evidence supports the filing of a rape charge, a physical violence charge or both. If she decided charges should be made, she would forward her recommendation to the prosecutor's office, which would make the final decision.

Just before departing in the evening, Neymar said, "The truth appears, sooner or later." He also thanked fans for their support.

Wearing a black suit, the player was using crutches because of an injured right ankle when he arrived at the station at midafternoon. Investigator Juliana Bussacos met him at the entrance amid a media frenzy while a crowd of nearly 200 fans cheered the 27-year-old Neymar, who is Brazil's most recognizable player.

The player is being investigated separately in Rio de Janeiro for publishing images of his accuser on social media without her authorization.

The Associated Press doesn't name alleged sexual assault victims unless they make their identities public, which 26-year-old model Najila Trindade did in interviews with Brazilian television.

Also Thursday, Trindade reported that she had picked her fourth lawyer to handle the case. The previous three decided to leave the case.

Neymar's jet flew into Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport and he was driven to the police station in a black van. The player came from his mansion in the city of Mangaratiba, outside Rio de Janeiro.

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