21 months sentence to Messi and father but they are unlikely to be in jailPTI/file photo
news Wednesday, July 06, 2016 - 16:39

Spanish newspaper 'La Vanguardia' reported on Wednesday that Messi, who recently retired from international football, and his father Jorge can appeal the decision through the Spanish Supreme Court.

The pair are were both found guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a statement from the court said on Wednesday. The Barcelona forward, 29, was fined about 2 million euros while his father received a fine of about 1.5 million euros.

Under Spanish law, any sentence under two years can be served under probation meaning the superstar and his father are unlikely to go to jail.

The pair were found to have used a number of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on just over 4 million euros worth of income earned through the sale of Messi's image rights between 2007 and 2009.

The five time Ballon d'Or winner, 29, denied any wrongdoing when he appeared before the court on June 2: "I don't know anything," Messi said. "I only worried about playing football."

"All I knew was that we signed agreements with certain sponsors for 'X' amount of money and that I had to do advertisements, photos and those things but about the money and where it went I knew nothing."

The court said said this was not enough for him to avoid charges.

Messi and his father had already paid 5 million euros to the tax authorities as a "corrective" measure after formal investigations were opened.

Messi's testimony came before he played for his country in the Copa America, where they lost to Chile in the final, with Messi missing a penalty in the shootout. He retired from the international stage shortly after.

(The article was first published on DW. You can read the original article here.)



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