A Spanish court on Thursday confirmed that Argentina and Barcelona star, Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge are to stand trial on three counts of tax fraud that could carry prison sentences.
The pair were accused in 2013 of defrauding the taxman out of 4.16 million euros ($4.69 million) in taxes related to Messi’s image rights between 2007 and 2009 through the creation of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay.
Messi’s father, Jorge
No date has been set for the trial, however, prosecutors had asked for the case against the Barcelona record goal scorer to be dropped as the alleged fraud was in their estimation carried out by his father, who has managed his son’s affairs since he was a child.
They asked for Jorge Messi to be given an 18-month prison sentence and a fine of half the defrauded amount.
Unfortunately, lawyers representing the the tax authorities pleaded for the player to also be tried and for both defendants to face a 22-month prison sentence.
In any case, both are unlikely to end up in jail as sentences of less than two years are normally suspended for first time offences in Spain.
The Argentinian soccer star is currently recovering from a knee which will take him off the field of play for six weeks.