Soccer star, Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax evasion and also fined $2.3 million. For more than a year now the world best footballer and his father, Jorge Messi had been enmeshed in a €4.1 million tax fraud allegations levelled against him by Spanish authorities.
The 29 year-old was at the Eighth Court of Barcelona last month to testify in the case . He vehemently denied knowledge of fraudulent activities, maintaining that all he did was to sign and entrust documents of deals with his father and lawyers and focus on his career.
“I never asked my dad about these things. The truth is that, as I said before, I trusted him and the lawyers. I didn’t know anything about it, I just played football. I didn’t know I was a member and manager of this company, I signed it because he [Jorge Messi] said so and I trusted him and the lawyers. All I knew was that I was signing a deal with sponsors to do adverts, photo shoots and things like that.
The State Attorney felt unconvinced with his defence in the tax evasion charges levelled against him and his father by Spanish authorities. He said he had zero credibility and was even compared to a ‘capo’ heading a criminal structure.
‘At one point, Jorge Messi recognizes that he tells his son they will be needing (financial) advice. And then they speak no more about it? That has zero credibility. Messi knew more than he is making out. I don’t want to compare Messi to a Mafioso, but it’s as if he was the boss of a criminal structure.’
However, because he doesn’t have a criminal record and his sentence was less than two years, he won’t serve jail time as long as he doesn’t break the law again.
His father also got a 21-month jail sentence and a $1.7 million for tax fraud, though like his son he won’t serve time as he also hasn’t committed an offence before.