Barcelona football icon , Lionel Messi, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud amounting to €4.1 million (MK3.2 billion). He has been jailed along with his father, Jorge Messi.
Prosecutors said Messi and his father defrauded Spain of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009. They also face millions of Euros in fines for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.
However, neither man is expected to serve time in jail since the Spanish legal system allows convicts to serve probation for prison terms of under two years.
The five time Fifa World Player of the Year was found guilty together with his father of three counts of tax fraud in Wednesday’s ruling by the court in Barcelona.
As well as the jail terms, Messi was fined about €2m and his father €1.5m. They made a voluntary €5m “corrective payment”, equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013.
Lionel Messi, who retired from international football last money insisted during trial that he “knew nothing” about the management of his financial affairs which were being managed by his father. The latter blamed their tax consultant.