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06th Jul 2016

Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud

It was alleged he avoided paying £3m in tax.

Kevin Beirne

Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in jail, according to reports from Spain.

The Barcelona forward has been sentenced for committing tax fraud, though Sky News are reporting that it is unlikely he will actually serve any prison time, as the sentence is less than two years and will probably be suspended.

Messi – who recently retired from international duty with Argentina after a heart-breaking defeat in the Copa America final on penalties – had threatened to leave Spain before because of concerns over tax.

lionel messi

The Argentine is not the only one to have had issues with the tax man in Spain, as his club and international team-mate Javier Masherano was similarly charged with committing tax fraud – though he did not serve any of his year-long sentence.

Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi, were charged with selling image rights via foreign-based companies to avoid Spanish tax obligations.

It is alleged the pair defrauded the Spanish government out of €4.1m (just under £3m) in unpaid tax between 2006 and 2009.

Neither FC Barcelona nor Messi himself have commented on the situation.

We will update more as we get it.


Lionel Messi