• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Messi faces jail term over £3.4m tax evasion

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Lionel Messi is to face a court trial for alleged tax evasion after a judge rejected the Barcelona star’s appeal in Spain.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner and his father, Jorge Messi, are accused of withholding about £3.4million in unpaid taxes between 2007 and 2009.

The Spanish judge’s statement read: ‘In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity, rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them.’

Messi had hoped to avoid having to appear in court because his father manages his income.

messi-barca

Now he must sit in the dock alongside his father and answer questions relating the failure to pay tax in Spain between 2007-09 on various sponsorship deals, by diverting revenue through companies in England, Switzerland and Uruguay.

But despite having put his fiscal affairs in order he is still being pursued for the alleged fraud in the period 2007-09.

A court in Barcelona, however, decided the Argentina captain could have been aware and approved the creation of a web of shell companies that were allegedly used to evade taxes due on income from image rights.

Messi and his father, who manages his financial affairs and acts as a representative, have five days to appeal the ruling. They both deny the allegations.

It is reported that Messi’s income at Barcelona is about £12.5m per year, although that does not include any sponsorship endorsements.