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Lionel Messi To Stand Trial For Tax Evasion

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Messi

An appeal by Lionel Messi for his culpability in a tax evasion trial to be thrown out has been rejected by a Spanish court, paving the way for his prosecution.

Messi is accused of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of over $5m in taxes owed between 2007 and 2009. Messi and his father, Jorge, are both accused of using proxy companies in Uruguay and Belize to avoid paying tax to Spanish authorities on the footballer’s image rights.

Messi’s lawyers are arguing that the player knows nothing about the alleged fraud, as he does not have anything to do with his finances, which are handled by his father. The appeal was to get Messi disassociated from the suit.

But the judge ruled that the determination of whether Messi was aware of the fraud or not should be left to the trial judge to determine. So that clears the last hurdle for the tax evasion trial to begin.

Messi has maintained his innocence throughout, and he and his father made a €5m voluntary payment to the authorities in 2013, the total of the money owed plus interest accrued; but the trial’s going ahead anyway.

Messi being ignorant of his finances seems plausible, especially if it’s his father handling the money; but that payment sounds suspicious and wouldn’t look good before a judge.

Hopefully this thing’s sorted out soon; no one wants the world’s best footballer to do a Wesley Snipes on us.



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