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Lionel Messi Accused Of Tax Fraud

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Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge Messi are being investigated for allegedly defrauding the state of over €4 million worth of income taxes between 2007 and 2009

Denis Doyle

Well, hands up if you saw this one coming. Almost entirely out of nowhere, it has emerged today that the Spanish state is investigating Barcelona's star striker, Lionel Messi and his father/agent, Jorge Messi for allegedly defrauding the state of over €4 million worth of income taxes between 2007 and 2009. As per the information reported in El Mundo Deportivo, the figure allegedly stands at €4,164,674.96 - as Messi and his father are alleged to have filed fraudulent tax returns between 2007 and 2009. It is suspected that Messi and his father used companies abroad - specifically in Belize and Uruguay - to sell the player's image rights. As a result of these alleged actions, Messi and his father avoided paying that €4 million tax bill to the Spanish Treasury.

In a message on his Facebook page, Lionel Messi refuted the claims: "We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about those news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation."

The complaint must be accepted by a judge in Gava before charges can be brought against any suspects, and one would have to assume that - if the complaint was accepted, and charges were filed - Messi would still have the full backing of FC Barcelona. If found guilty, it's possible that Messi could face a jail sentence, although as mentioned earlier, nothing is concrete at the moment - and as usual, Messi is innocent until proven guilty.