Lionel Messi's Prison Sentence Upheld By Spanish Supreme Court

Barcelona News Lionel Messi Real Madrid Paulo Dybala

Spain's Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed a 21-month jail sentence and 2.09-million-euro ($2.25 million) fine imposed on Lionel Messi for tax fraud, months after the Barcelona football star lodged an appeal.

The 29-year-old Messi and his father defrauded Spain's tax office of approximately $AU6.3 million from 2007 to 2009 by using proxy organisations to avoid taxes on revenue generated from players' image rights.

Under Spanish law, a suspect who receives a prison sentence of less than two years for a first offence for a non-violent crime is able to serve it under probation.

The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected Lionel Messi's appeal against his conviction for tax evasion.

During court proceedings, Messi maintained he had little knowledge of his financial affairs.

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Messi's father Jorge, however, had his jail-term reduced to 15 months because he paid some of the taxes.

The final word regarding their fate remains in the hands of the Barcelona court that signed the sentence which has now been ratified by the Supreme Court.

At the time Messi was ordered to pay a fine of around €2m at the time, while his father was fined €1.5m. "I was dedicated to playing soccer", Messi said. "At no time did I think that they could deceive me".

These companies are in Belize, Switzerland and Uruguay, and the idea was to evade taxes on income from the player's image rights.

But Mario Maza, the state attorney representing the tax authorities at the trial, said he found it unlikely that Messi knew nothing about the situation.

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