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Lionel Messi, Father Handed Prison Sentences

messi and dad
Messi and his father in the court room

Argentina and Barcelona football star, Lionel Messi, and his father Jorge Messi have been handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence each for defrauding the Spanish government of €4.1 million in taxes between 2007 and 2009.

They also face millions of euros in fines for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

However, none of them is expected to serve time in jail as under the Spanish system, prison terms of less than two years can be served under probation.

The footballer and his father were found guilty of three counts of tax fraud in Wednesday’s ruling by a court in Barcelona.

As well as the jail terms, Messi was fined about €2 million and his father €1.5 million even after they have made a voluntary €5 million corrective payment in 2013.

Lionel Messi insists he knew nothing about the management of his financial affairs, saying his father dealt with them while he was playing football.

For his part, Jorge Messi claimed he did not have enough knowledge to orchestrate such a fraud, blaming his tax consultants instead.

Lionel Messi retired from international football late last month and is one of the richest athletes in the world.

The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish Supreme Court.

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