Lionel Messi might be in tax trouble again.
The Barcelona and footballing superstar has been connected to the Panama Papers case, with the Argentine allegedly taking part in a scheme to hide his assets and commit tax fraud along with politicians, celebrities and other sports personalities.
In a statement on Monday, Messi's legal team and his family responded to the allegations by denying them completely and threatening to sue the Spanish media outlets that reported the case and cited the player.
"In regards to the news released by several media outlets in which Lionel Messi is held responsible for the creation of a company with the aim of 'putting in place a new framework of tax fraud', the Messi family wishes to make clear that Lionel Messi has not carried out any of the actions he is accused of, the accusations of designing ‘a new framework of tax fraud’ and, even, money laundering, are false and offensive.
"The Panama company referred to in the reports is a totally inactive company, which never held open current accounts and which derives from the former company structure designed by by the Messi family’s previous financial advisers, the fiscal consequences of which have already been regularised. All the income that comes from his image rights, prior to and after the procedure carried out in court, has been declared before the Spanish Treasury.
"With respect to all of that, the Messi family have given instructions to their lawyers to analyse eventual legal action against the sources that have published these claims."
Barcelona immediately showed its support by releasing a statement of its own in support of Messi and his family:
1 - The club supports the arguments which the Messi family published in a statement today.
2 - Since the very first moment that the ‘Panama papers’ which accuse Leo Messi were released, FC Barcelona has sent its affection and support to the player and to his whole family. The Club makes all of its judicial means, fiscal and administrative, at the family’s disposal in order to make his actions and honour clear in this case.