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Report: Messi Could Face Six Years in Jail for Tax Fraud
BBC Sport, June 13th, 2013 3:35PM

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TAGS:  barcelona, soccer business, spain

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Lionel Messi took to Facebook on Wednesday to respond to allegations that he and his father sold his image rights to companies based in tax havens in an attempt to dodge paying Spanish taxes. “We have never committed any infringement,” the statement said. “We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our tax consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation."

Nevertheless, prosecutor Raquel Amado on Wednesday signed a complaint in the Gava court district where Messi lives. If a judge accepts the complaint, the Barcelona star and his father will be charged with tax fraud. The accusation is that with the help of companies based in tax havens like Belize and Uruguay, Messi and his father avoided paying more than $5 million in tax from the sale of his image rights to companies in those countries. If convicted, the Argentina international could face up to six years in jail and a large fine, according to Spain’s EFE news agency.

Current and former Barca presidents have defended Messi and his father. Former president Joan Laporta told Cope radio, "I am convinced that neither Leo nor his father have committed any infraction." Current president Sandro Rosell also said they were innocent. Read the original story...


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