Spain's Supreme Court Upholds Lionel Messi's 21-Month Jail Sentence For Tax Fraud - uSports.org

Log In

  • Home  /
  • News   / Daily Digest   /
  • Spain’s Supreme Court Upholds Lionel Messi’s 21-Month Jail Sentence For Tax Fraud
Spain’s Supreme Court Upholds Lionel Messi’s 21-Month Jail Sentence For Tax Fraud Full view

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 23: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates as he scores their third goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Bernabeu on April 23, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Spain’s Supreme Court Upholds Lionel Messi’s 21-Month Jail Sentence For Tax Fraud

Spain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Lionel Messi’s appeal against a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, although the Barcelona forward is unlikely to serve jail time.

Lionel Messi and Father’s Appeal Denied, but Unlikely to Serve Jail Time Under Spanish Law

The 29-year-old Argentine soccer star and his father Jorge — who manages his finances — were both convicted by a Barcelona court in July 2016 for evading €4.1m (£3.5m; $4.6m) in taxes on Messi’s image rights from 2007 to 2009.

Per MailOnline’s Pete South, Messi and his father were also fined €2 million ($2.24 million) and €1.5 million ($1.68 million) respectively.

Jorge Messi’s sentence was reduced from 21 months to 15 by the Supreme Court to account for the income he had since handed to tax authorities.

Both him and his son probably won’t spend any time in jail, however, given Spanish laws dictating that prison terms of less than two years (for non-violent offenses) can be served under probation.

South explained that it is common under Spanish law for defendants without prior convictions to avoid prison time for such crimes.

Messi and his father were found guilty of three counts of fraud for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay — as well as shell companies in the U.K. and Switzerland — between 2007 and 2009.

The pair were charged with employing fake companies to avoid paying Spanish taxes on income that derived from companies paying for the use of the Argentine striker’s image rights.

News of the investigation initially surfaced in 2013, when Jorge reportedly paid more than €5 million ($5.6 million) in arrears and extra charges. Messi’s father also allegedly paid €10 million ($11.2 million) in taxes due on the player’s image rights income from 2010 to 2011.

These transactions are reportedly the reason for Jorge’s sentence being reduced by six months.

Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing during his trial in June 2016.

“I was dedicated to playing soccer,” he said. “I trusted my father and the lawyers that we had chosen to deal with our affairs. At no time did I think that they could deceive me.”

Messi admitted during last year’s trial that he signed many of his income and tax-related documents when he was younger without reading their full contents. The Argentine also stated he visited a notary to establish a company to mange his finances without understanding the specifics of the situation.

However, Mario Maza — the state attorney representing the tax authorities throughout the trial, explained he found it improbable that Messi did not comprehend what was going on.

“It could be that they are inexperienced with tax matters and the law and are not able to set up their own companies, but they are able to understand what paying your taxes means,” Maza said.

Messi, who was the leading scorer in La Liga this season with 27 goals, is negotiating a contract renewal with Barcelona. His current deal will expire at the end of next season.

According to ESPN FC, the Catalan club said they were optimistic the Argentine forward would sign an extension. Spanish radio reported Tuesday that a new contract will be signed at the start of next season so that the money is utilized as part of the following year’s budget.

 MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 23: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates as he scores their third goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Bernabeu on April 23, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Chat With uSports On Facebook! Get the latest news and interviews delivered directly to your Messenger!

Featured articles on uInterview.com

Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.

Latest News

Gerrit Cole Expected To Set Record Contract, Yankees Make Him Top Priority

Gerrit Cole Expected To Set Record Contract, Yankees Make Him Top Priority

There may be a new record-setting deal in the MLB with right-hander Gerrit Cole at the center of it all.…

Army Football Drops Motto After White Supremacists Origins Surface

Army Football Drops Motto After White Supremacists Origins Surface

For several years, the Army West Point Black Knights have taken the field every game flying an American flag and…

Tom Brady Laughs Off Toe Injury As Patriots Prepare To Play Kansas City: ‘Isn’t There Some HIPAA Violation?’

Tom Brady Laughs Off Toe Injury As Patriots Prepare To Play Kansas City: ‘Isn’t There Some HIPAA Violation?’

Tom Brady laughed off his injury report that lists his elbow and toe ahead of the matchup with the Kansas…

Knicks Fire David Fizdale, Steve Kerr Says ‘That Would Have Been Me 3 Years Ago!’

Knicks Fire David Fizdale, Steve Kerr Says ‘That Would Have Been Me 3 Years Ago!’

The last game the Knicks played they fell to the Denver Nuggets (14-6) by a whopping final of 129-92. This…

Pistons Accused Of ‘Dirty Play’ In 108-101 Win Against Pacers

Pistons Accused Of ‘Dirty Play’ In 108-101 Win Against Pacers

In what proved to be a close finish, the Detroit Pistons (9-14) defeated the Indiana Pacers (14-8) 108-101. The Pistons…

Oregon Takes Down Utah 37-15 To Take Home Pac-12 Title

Oregon Takes Down Utah 37-15 To Take Home Pac-12 Title

Heading into the Pac-12 Championship, Utah had high hopes of coming away with a victory and securing a spot in…

Steve Belichick Channels His Super Bowl Champ Dad Bill Belichick: ‘Like Father, Like Son’

Steve Belichick Channels His Super Bowl Champ Dad Bill Belichick: ‘Like Father, Like Son’

The New England Patriots have a new face hitting headlines, head coach Bill Belichick‘s son, Steve Belichick. Social media picked…

Chicago Blackhawks Upset the First Place Boston Bruins In Overtime 4-3

Chicago Blackhawks Upset the First Place Boston Bruins In Overtime 4-3

The Boston Bruins lost only their third game of the season Thursday after being edged out by the Central Division’s…

Cowboys Fall To Bears 31-24, Frustration Starting To Build After Dallas Loses 3rd Straight

Cowboys Fall To Bears 31-24, Frustration Starting To Build After Dallas Loses 3rd Straight

The Dallas Cowboys are now 6-7 after losing in Chicago to the Bears Thursday night 31-24. This marks the Cowboys…

Former Notre Dame Running Back George Atkinson III Dead At 27

Former Notre Dame Running Back George Atkinson III Dead At 27

The Former Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back George Atkinson died Tuesday at the age of 27. No cause of…

49ers Suspend Radio Announcer Tim Ryan After Remark About Lamar Jackson’s ‘Dark’ Skin Color

49ers Suspend Radio Announcer Tim Ryan After Remark About Lamar Jackson’s ‘Dark’ Skin Color

The San Francisco 49ers announced this week the suspension of radio announcer Tim Ryan for an offensive comment he made about Baltimore…

Dwyane Wade Responds To People Trolling His Son Zion’s Appearance In Recent Family Photo

Dwyane Wade Responds To People Trolling His Son Zion’s Appearance In Recent Family Photo

Dwyane Wade responded to negative comments on Saturday regarding a recent family photo where his 12-year-old son Zion is seen…