Fraud in the News

Things get messy for Messi

Lionel Messi, the Argentine and FC Barcelona footballer, and his father, Jorge, have each been sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax evasion, according to the July 6 BuzzFeed News article, Messi Probably Won't Go To Jail, Despite Being Sentenced to 21-Months In Prison, by Rose Troup Buchanan.

According to the article, Messi and his father were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud by a court in Barcelona. In June, a court heard that they'd defrauded Spanish tax authorities of about 4 million euros in three years.

The article states that tax havens in Uruguay and Belize were used to shield money made off the back of Lionel Messi's image, though Messi maintained throughout the trial he "knew nothing" about his father's actions and was only interested in playing football.

Under Spanish law, prison sentences under two years can be served on probation. However, according to the Forbes article, Soccer Star Lionel Messi Will Appeal Conviction, Prison Sentence on Tax Evasion Charges, by Kelly Phillips Erb on July 7, both Messi and his father will appeal the Spanish court decision.

According to the Forbes article, their lawyers have stated that the verdict is "incorrect" and the amounts of tax at issue had already been resolved: Messi made a "corrective payment" while still denying any wrongdoing a few months after charges were initially filed. 

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