Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi may have averted the law over tax charges but the same cannot be said of his father Jorge Messi may face 18 months in prison and a €2m fine if convicted.
Both Messi and his father were accused of defrauding Spanish authorities of more than €4m (£3.1m; $5m) but prosecutors in Spain have dropped tax charges against the four times Ballon D’or winner. Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.
Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.
The high court in Barcelona ruled in June that Messi should not be granted impunity for not knowing what was happening with his finances, which were being managed in part by his father but now the player will no longer face charges.
Messi and his father made a voluntary €5m “corrective payment”, equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013. The income related to Messi’s image rights, including contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.