Barcelona star Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison

Published: July 6, 2016
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

MADRID: Barcelona football star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a statement from the court said on Wednesday.

The court also sentenced the Argentine player’s father, Jorge, to 21 months in prison for the same three crimes.

The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, the statement said.

Lionel Messi tax fraud trial begins in Barcelona

However, under Spanish law a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation, meaning Messi and his father are unlikely to go to jail.

Barcelona’s Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi (L) sits in court with his father Jorge Horacio Messi during their trial for tax fraud in Barcelona, Spain, June 2, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around 2 million euros ($2.21 million) and his father to pay 1.5 million euros for the crimes.

Previously, a court ruled that Messi could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies allegedly used to evade taxes on income from image rights.

Spain’s tax office accused both men in 2013 of defrauding the government of 4.2 million euros ($4.67 million) between 2007 and 2009.

Messi retires from international football

According to the prosecutor’s office, which has proposed jail terms of up to 22 months, revenue was hidden using shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Messi and his father paid five million euros to the tax authorities as a “corrective” measure after being formally investigated in June 2013.

The 29-year-old has been residing in Barcelona since 2000 and has had Spanish citizenship since 2005.

Messi to appeal ruling

Meanwhile, Messi has decided will appeal the Spanish court decision.

His lawyers feel an appeal would eventually succeed in persuading the court that Messi and his father have behaved correctly, the player’s representatives told AFP.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • karachi3
    Jul 6, 2016 - 6:16PM

    And in Pakistan,what punishment did Rahat Fateh Ale Khan get for tax evasion and not declaring his income?.
    In Pakistan ,unless FBR is reformed ,the country will not get due taxesRecommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Jul 6, 2016 - 6:41PM

    Had he been in Pakistan he would have been roaming around scot-free

    in audacious style and being termed as a ” legend ‘ like

    Wasim Akram by the sycophant media.Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Jul 6, 2016 - 8:39PM

    Shouldn’t this worry Nawaz and Zardari and Ishaq Dar and Shabaz Sharif?Recommend

  • M Ali
    Jul 7, 2016 - 1:37AM

    In Pakistan FBR is only good for sending you notices after you bought a motor cycle. Recommend

  • stevenson
    Jul 7, 2016 - 2:11AM

    @karachi3: What about Musharraf who has millions stashed away in Swiss accounts and no one can say anything about him. Musharraf should be called back and charged not only fdr tax evasion but corruption too.Recommend

  • Muhammad Ali
    Jul 7, 2016 - 1:15PM

    Messi has brought so much disrespect for the game and for himself because of little money she tried to save. It is a very good example that he is punished because no one is greater then the laws and regulation.

    It is pity to observe things in Pakistan where criminals are roaming around as heroes. Nawaz Sharif and Zaradari and their families, the two most innocent souls of Pakistan are still busy stealing the tax payers money. Aamir is given chance again in cricket despite of his criminal involvement. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Wasim Akram are heroes despite their criminal records. Musharaf leaves the country so easily despite being a dictator. The families of corrupt politicians rule the country.. Recommend

  • Javeria
    Jul 8, 2016 - 2:32AM

    Messi,you were my first crush,but now I have realized that you’re a fraud! I didn’t expected it from you.Recommend

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