Argentine star, Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud

Argentine star, Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 12:56 pm


Lionel Messi: leaving the court room

Lionel Messi: leaving the court room

Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi was on Wednesday sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud in Spain.

His father, Jorge Messi, was also given a jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1m (£3.5m; $4.5m) between 2007 and 2009.

However, neither man is expected to serve time in jail, according to BBC.

This was because under the Spanish system, prison terms under two years can be served under probation.

Reports also indicated that the father and the son could also be fined millions of euros for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

The footballer and his father were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud by the court in Barcelona.

Jorge Messi, father of Lionel

Jorge Messi, father of Lionel

Messi was fined about €2m and his father €1.5m.

Messi had insisted he “knew nothing” about the management of his financial affairs, saying he was “playing football” in his defence during his trial while his father said he did not have enough knowledge to orchestrate such a fraud, blaming his tax consultants instead.

Lionel Messi retired from international football late last month.

Messi is a five time winner of Fifa World Player of the Year five and one of the richest athletes in the world.

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