Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father Jorge have paid $6.6 million to the Spanish tax authorities as a “corrective payment” after the pair was accused of filing false tax returns. The authorities have accused the Messis of hiding close to $5.3 million after filing incomplete tax returns between 2006 and 2009. They allege that Messi’s image rights had been hidden using a complex web of shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
"I never take care of that stuff myself and neither does my father," Messi said in July. "We have our lawyers and our wealth managers to take care of that and we trust them and they will sort this out," he added. “The truth is that I don't have a clue about all this and that is why we have people taking care of it." Messi and his father will appear in court at a future date to determine whether any additional penalty fees must be paid to the tax authorities.
According to Reuters, the Barca striker earns just over $20 million per season, plus an additional $21 million or so in endorsements each year from the likes of Adidas, PepsiCo, P&G and Turkish Airlines.