Dani Alves, a Brazilian soccer player, revealed on Monday that he had consensual sex with a woman who accused him of sexual assault, altering his version of events in a Barcelona nightclub in late December.
The 39-year-old, who has been imprisoned without bail since 20 January, appeared before the court overseeing the probe on Monday at his own request, according to his lawyers.
“He assured he didn’t initially tell what had happened and denied the sexual contact because his only priority was to save his marriage,” the statement said.
Alves told the judge there was immediate interest and sexual tension between him and his accuser. “He said that everything that happened inside the restroom was a free and voluntary act. They made love and (she) didn’t say at any time to stop”, the statement added.
Alves had previously denied any sexual encounter with the woman who filed a complaint in January about an alleged sexual assault in a restroom at an exclusive Barcelona nightclub.
Two weeks before his arrest in January, Alves said in a video sent to local TV channel Antena 3 that he did not know who the woman was.
In February, the court rejected Alves’s demand to be released.
A spokesperson for the Barcelona court where Alves testified on Monday declined to comment.
The lawyer representing the alleged victim and a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s body did not respond to a request for comment.
The case has attracted significant attention in Spain, in part because of Alves’s prominence but primarily because sexual assault has remained a dominant political theme since a 2016 gang-rape of a teenager during the San Fermin bull-running festival which led to the toughening of sexual violence laws in the country.
In Spain, a claim of rape is investigated under the general accusation of sexual assault and convictions can lead to jail time of between four and 15 years.
Following his arrest, Alves, who has played in the past for teams such as FC Barcelona and Paris-St-Germain, was fired by Mexico’s Pumas UNAM and his wife, model Joana Sanz, left him.
Meanwhile, the former Barcelona star is receiving preferential treatment in prison.
Alves lives a separate life to the rest of the prisoners, and when he joins shared areas, such as when allowed outside or during meals, he is accompanied by four officers.
Alves is also given €100 per day to spend at the prison store, not that he has used it other than to pay for energy drinks, yoghurts, shampoo, deodorant and tuna. The source did comment that on one level it was understandable.
Due to his profile, the prison wants to avoid problems between him and the other inmates – nevertheless, it does seem unjust that he should have different treatment because of his name.