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Messi facing 21 months in prison for tax fraud

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Messi facing 21 months in prison for tax fraud

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  • Messi and father sentenced for multi-million euro tax fraud
  • Multi-million euro fines imposed
  • Sentence can be appealed

Lionel Messi has been given a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud.

Spanish media say the Barcelona player was convicted along with his father.

The sentence can be appealed.

What happened?

Messi was found guilty of three counts of tax fraud by a court in Barcelona.

He was charged with defrauding Spain of 4.2 m euros between 2007 and 2009.

Lionel Messi has been fined two million euros.

His father, who was handed the same sentence, has been fined 1.5 m.

What were they accused of?

The Spanish tax authorities say the 29-year-old and his father defrauded the government of 4.2 million euros in tax between 2007 and 2009.

The court decided that had used a network of shell companies to evade taxes on the income from the player’s image rights.

They had already paid five million euros to the tax authorities as a “corrective” measure after formal investigations were opened.

Will Lionel Messi go to prison?

Probably not.

Anyone sentenced to a prison sentence of less than two years for a non-violent crime in Spain can opt to do probation instead.

That should come as a relief to Barcelona fans.

What has Messi said?

  • He had no knowledge of the dealings
  • His father had control of his financial affairs

However, the court found that this was not enough for him to avoid charges.

Lionel Messi – Hall of Fame

  • Five times World Player of the Year
  • 10th on Forbes list of world’s highest-earning athletes over the last 10 years
  • Estimated income of 317m euros

    In tweets

The Twittersphere (presumably not including Barcelona fans) has reacted with mirth to the news of Messi’s sentence.

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