Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi, will go on trial this Tuesday over allegations that he defrauded Spain of more than £3 million in unpaid taxes.The court case, which will last until June 2, comes just days before the 27-year-old is set to join up with the Argentina squad ahead of this summer’s Copa America tournament.
Sky Sports reported that Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, will respond to accusations that they have used a chain of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on £3.2 million of the footballer’s income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007 to 2009.
The source also stated that the duo have already paid £3.8 million to the tax authorities as a “corrective” measure.Messi and his father maintain that the latter handles the financial aspects without reporting to the forward.
“He has nothing to do (with these issues), he only plays football,” Jorge Horacio Messi said in September 2013.Should the pair be found guilty of fraud, a prison sentence of 22-and-a half months – which prosecutors are seeking – is unlikely for the five-time World Player of the Year due to the laws in Spain.This is because it’s common in the country that first offences carrying a sentence of less than two years are suspended and it also means that Messi is permitted to only show up on June 2 for his testimony.
This season was yet another successful term for Messi on the pitch.He scored 26 La Liga goals as Barca retained the trophy and he also created both goals in the Copa Del Rey final victory over Sevilla.He also reclaimed the Ballon d’Or from rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, in January and will captain his country for this summer’s special edition of the Copa America that will be played in the United States.
An international title is all that is missing from Messi’s long list of honours after falling short in the finals of the World Cup and Copa America in the past two summers.