Messi’s Trial For Tax Fraud To Start On May 31


Lionel Messi’s tax fraud case will be heard by a Barcelona court from May 31 through to June 3, according to statement on Wednesday.

World Player of the Year Messi and his father Jorge are accused of defrauding the Spanish state of 4.2 million euros ($4.6 million) in tax between 2007 and 2009 and a Spanish court ordered that they stand trial last October.

The pair are accused of ceding the player’s image rights to the companies in order to avoid declaring money made from lucrative deals with sponsors in Spain.
Public prosecutors had asked for the case against the Argentine player to be dropped as they considered the alleged fraud was carried out by his father, who has managed his son’s affairs since he was a child.
But in October 2015 the judge in charge of the case rejected the request, writing in a court filing that “there are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties.”
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax office have asked for both defendants to be slapped with prison sentences of 22 and a half months.
Both father and son have denied the accusations and instead blamed a former financial advisor.

Jorge Messi made a voluntary corrective payment of five million euros in August 2013 which is expected to mitigate any sentence.
Even if convicted it is unlikely that either Messi or his father would enter prison as jail terms of less than two years are usually suspended for first time offences in Spain.
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