Lionel Messi and His Father Sentenced To 21 Months in Jail
Lionel Messi and his father Jorge have been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud.
The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, a statement from the court said.
It is unlikely Messi or his father will not serve a stretch behind bars, however. Under Spanish law, a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation if you have no prior criminal record.
The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around 2 million euros (£1.7million) and his father to pay 1.5 million euros (£1.3million).
Messi and his father were both found guilty by a court in Barcelona of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of €4.1million (£3.5m) in the period between 2007 and 2009 by not paying tax on image rights earnings.
Messi, whose father Jorge was a co-defendant and received the same sentence, was handed a term of under two years and thus, under Spanish law, is unlikely to have to go to prison unless he offends again.
He will, however, have to pay a fine of around €2.3million on top of the reparations already paid to authorities.
When giving evidence earlier this summer, Jorge Messi absolved his son of all blame, with the 28-year-old claiming he did not “read the documents, only sign them.”
It meant that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had his signature on a raft of documents that channeled income from sponsorship deals through third parties in Belize and Uruguay.
Lionel Messi’s club-mate and former international colleague Javier Mascherano was similarly handed a jail sentence over a tax offence last year but did not ever set foot in a prison.
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