FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father has been accused of Tax Fraud by Spanish tax authorities.
In an extraordinary turn of events Spanish tax authorities have filed a complaint against Lionel Messi and Jorge Horacio, his father, for filing fraudulent tax returns for a period of four years from 2006-2009. The duo is believed to have evaded a total of €4m during that period, through a group of companies based outside side. Since Messi was underage during that time, his father was in charge of his finance, hence he has been charged along with the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“The initiative to commit fraud came from his father,” – A tax authority was quoted as saying in a Spanish news agency.
A complained has been lodged by a Spanish Tax Prosecutor Raquel Amado at the court of Gava, the district where Lionel Messi lives. The Court will now decide whether to open a case against the Barcelona star. If Messi is found guilty, he could face up to two to six years in jail or a fine of about six times the money involved in the tax fraud.
Messi released a statement from his official Facebook page regarding these allegations. The Argentine international was surprised by these reports and claimed that they have always fulfilled their tax obligations. He added that his tax consultant will now handle the issue.
“We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about those news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.” – Lionel Messi communicated through social media.
Messi is believed to be on a wage of over almost £13m per season, making him one of the highest paid athletes in the world. These figures reach mindboggling heights when one considers the endorsements that he has, which is reportedly more than his annual income from the Spanish club. Barcelona are yet to comment on these reports, although the club might step in if required.