Barcelona star claims he knew nothing
Jail sentence for Messi and father over tax fraud
Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi was today handed a 21 months prison sentence for tax fraud.
His father, Jorge, was also served with a prison term for defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of €4.1m (£3.5m) between 2007 and 2009.
Lionel Messi, who earns £26m a year at Barcelona alone, was fined about €2m and his father €1.5m. They made a voluntary €5m “corrective payment”, equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, three years ago.
There could be further fines for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to allegedly conceal earnings from image rights.
It is unlikely that either with go to jail as prison terms of under two years can be served under probation under Spanish law.
Lionel Messi, who recently announced his retirement from international football, told the court he was unaware of how his financial affairs were being handled.
His father claimed he did not know enough about finance and tax to commit such a fraud.
Messi has contracts with Banco Sabadell (owner of TSB), Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.