Lionel Messi Sentenced To 21 Months In Prison For Tax Fraud

Barcelona's football star Lionel Messi (L) and his father Jorge Horacio Messi listen as they face judges in a tax fraud case at the courthouse on June 2, 2016 in Barcelona. The 28-year-old football star was cheered and jeered as he emerged from a van accompanied by his father Jorge Horacio Messi. The two are accused of using a chain of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros ($4.6 million) of Messi's income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007-09. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ ALBERTO ESTEVEZ / AFP PHOTO / POOL / ALBERTO ESTEVEZ

Football superstar, Lionel Messi was today sentenced to 21 months in prison by a court in Spain for tax evasion.

Here’s how Reuters is reporting it:

“Barcelona’s Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined 2 million euros ($2.2 million) after being found guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a court in the Spanish city said on Wednesday.

The court handed the same jail sentence to the Argentine soccer player’s father, Jorge, and fined him 1.5 million euros. However, in Spain it is customary that those sentenced to under two years for non-violent crimes do not serve time in jail.

Messi, 29, and his father were accused by the Spanish tax office of defrauding the government of 4.2 million euros ($4.7 million) in tax between 2007 and 2009.

The court found that they had used a web of shell companies to evade taxes on income from the player’s image rights.

Messi, five-times World Player of the Year, said during the trial that he had no knowledge of the dealings and that his father had control over his financial affairs. But the court said this was not enough for him to avoid charges.

The defendants can appeal to the supreme court, the Barcelona local court said in its statement.

Messi and his father had already paid 5 million euros to the tax authorities as a “corrective” measure after formal investigations were opened.”

 

 

 


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