losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com October 17, 2017


Messi's Spanish jail sentence for tax fraud to stand

25 May 2017, 01:18 | Stacy Ballard

GETTY Paulo Dybala won't be joining Real Madrid this summer

Paulo Dybala

Barcelona's Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and his father Jorge have lost their appeal to Spain's Supreme Court against a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud on Wednesday.

However, the final decision was pronounced on Wednesday, May 24, after the appeal initiated by Messi's lawyers.

In Spain, a sentence for a first-time offender of less than two years can be served on probation instead.

The 29-year-old Messi and his father defrauded the Spanish tax office of 4.1 million euros between 2007 and 2009 by using a web of shell companies based outside Spain.

Messi and his father were also fined €2 million (US$2.2 million) each.

According to the BBC, the case will now return to the court in Barcelona that handed down the original judgement.

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The income related to Messi s image rights that was hidden includes endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company.

Messi's father Jorge, however, had his jail-term reduced to 15 months because he paid some of the taxes.

"It defies logic to concede that someone who earns a large income does not know that he must pay taxes on it", the court wrote in its sentence.

A native of Argentina, Messi is widely considered to be one of the world's best soccer players.

Messi's Barcelona contract is due to expire in June 2018 and the club are now engaged in a process to extend that contract. The fallout of the Spanish supreme court verdict could derail his current contract talks with the club that would have reportedly seen him earn a mouthwatering £485,000 a week after tax.



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