Messi’s Brother Faces up to 9 Years in Jail over Gun Possession
Lionel Messi’s brother, Matias, could be locked up for up to eight and a half years if convicted of illegal possession of a firearm.
Matias, 35, was arrested in hospital over the weekend after being operated on for injuries including a broken jaw and facial as police said they had discovered a gun in a blood-covered boat he reportedly abandoned.
The minimum prison sentence for illegal possession of firearms in Argentina is three and a half years, although local reports claim he could be jailed for up to eight and a half years.
Leo’s wayward sibling remained under police guard last night at the Sanatorio Parque – a private hospital in their native city of Rosario in Argentina – as investigators tried to get to the bottom of the mystery incident.
Sun reports that Matias was formally arrested a day after being helped ashore after he was found drifting in a motorboat on the Parana River near Rosario just before dawn on Thursday morning.
Matias’ lawyer Ignacio Carbone has suggested the gun found on the boat could have been planted by cops, but state prosecutor Jose Luis Caterina has rubbished any suggestion of foul play, insisting the police procedure had been “transparent, clear and legitimate” and revealing the gun, a .380 handgun, was ready to be fired when it was found and had six bullets inside.
The prison remand order, approved by judge Andres Donnola, is effective until December 23, while investigators try to establish who the owner of the boat which had been described by officials as a “ghost vessel.”
This isn’t the first time that Matias was running afoul of the law after he was last year instructed to teach football as part of a probation order after being caught with a gun in his car.
In October 2008 he was arrested for allegedly having a loaded gun in his belt, while in April 2011 he survived an assassination attempt after a gunman on a motorbike sprayed bullets at his house.
Matias is one of Leo’s two brothers. Rodrigo is also older than the Barcelona star and they have a younger sister called Marisol.
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