Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Messi's Spanish jail sentence for tax fraud to stand

Messi's Spanish jail sentence for tax fraud to stand

Messi, who now earns over £250,000 (equivalent to over Rs 20 crores) a week after tax at Barcelona, has lost the high-profile tax evasion case.

Under Spanish law, prison terms of under two years without prior offences can be served under probation.

Five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and his father were given 21-month suspended jail sentences in July 2016 for tax fraud relating to the player's image rights.

He has always maintained his innocence, insisting he left all financial matters in the hands of his father and lawyers.

Spain's Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi and stood by a Catalan regional court's 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, court documents showed.

Spain's Supreme Court today upheld the jail sentence and two-million-euro ($2.2-million) fine imposed on Messi for tax fraud, months after the Barcelona star lodged an appeal.

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Spanish newspaper El Pais says the court ratified an earlier sentence conferred by a regional tribunal in Barcelona, and found Messi guilty of defrauding Spain's ministry of finance of €4.1m.

But the Supreme Court said Wednesday that he would have known about his obligation to pay taxes.

Messi's father Jorge, however, had his jail-term reduced to 15 months because he paid some of the taxes. "At no time did I think that they could deceive me".

Prosecutors had asked for Messi to be absolved, arguing there was no evidence that the player was aware of how his income was managed.

"Messi's father said he was told by a legal adviser that the practice was legal".

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