After last month’s shocker when Lionel Messi said he is quitting international soccer, the Argentine football player is yet again in the news for not any sporty event. He has been sentenced on Wednesday to 21 months prison and was fined 2 million euros (2.2 million) when he was found guilty of three counts of tax fraud. Under Spanish law, any sentence that is under two years for a non-violent crime rarely requires the defendant, especially the one without previous convictions, to serve jail time. A spokeswoman for the court confirmed Messi was unlikely to be imprisoned.
Messi, is one of the most popular football player of our times, has won eight La Liga titles, four King’s Cups and four Champions League crowns with Barcelona.
Messi’s father Jorge too had been slapped a fine of 1.5 million Euros too and they have been alleged of defrauding the Spanish tax office of almost 4.2 million euros between 2007 and 2009 by using a web of shell companies to evade taxes on income from the player’s image rights, the court said in a written ruling.
According to the ruling – The companies – with names such as Sport Consultants and Sport Enterprises that the player used – were based in tax havens such as Belize, Uruguay and Switzerland where legislation kept the identities of their owners secret,.
Meanwhile, Messi agreed to have signed contracts to protect his image rights and had no knowledge, that, what he was doing is bad. He further clarified that his father had control over his finances – however these reasons are not enough to bail him out.