Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi and his father Jorge has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud.

According to BBC News, Jorge Messi was given the jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1m (£3.5m; $4.5m) between 2007 and 2009.

The Messis were found to have evaded tax on the player’s image rights and the Court of Catalonia has fined the pair and sentenced them each to just under two years in prison.

Under the Spanish system, prison terms of under two years can be served under probation, which means they won’t be required to serve any jail time.

Messi and his father were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud in Wednesday’s ruling by the court in Barcelona. Along with the jail terms, the Barcelona superstar 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.

During the trial, Leo Messi had argued that he wasn’t aware of the tax arrangements set in place by his father and other advisors.

Meanwhile, Barcelona Football Club have pledged their full support to Messi and his father with relation to the sentence for tax evasion handed out by the Provincial Court. Barcelona have released an official statement today stating the club will “support him [Messi] in whatever action he decides to take in defence of his honesty and his legal interests”.

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