Messi, father to appear in court on tax fraud charges

Posted by News Express | 10 October 2015 | 3,819 times

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Argentine forward Lionel Messi and his father Jorge have been ordered to appear in court on charges of defrauding Spanish tax authorities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the amount involved is worth more than four million euros (about $4.5 million; about N990 million).

Spain's public prosecutor has recommended a jail sentence totaling 18 months and fines of more than two million euros for Jorge Messi.

This is for allegedly defrauding the state of 4.2 million euros for the years 2007-2009.

The prosecutor has however argued that Lionel Messi should not have to answer the charges as his father oversaw his finances.

But a court document published on Thursday showed the judge in the case had ruled that the FC Barcelona player must still appear as a defendant.

The document said hearings will take place at a court in Vilanova i la Geltru, near Barcelona,

The court had previously ruled that Messi could have known about it all.

It also said he could have approved the creation of a web of shell companies which were allegedly used to evade taxes on income from image rights.

Revenue had been hidden using companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the UK, according to the prosecutor's office.

Previously, Messi and his father paid five million euros to the tax authorities as a ‘corrective payment’ after they were formally charged in June 2013.

The footballer has been resident in Barcelona since 2000 and gained Spanish citizenship in 2005.

He is 10th on Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s highest-earning athletes over the past decade with income of $350 million. (Reuters/NAN)

•Photo shows Messi.


Source: News Express

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