People have argued that he was barely a 20-year old when this tax fraud cum evasion mess happened, but now that he has been finally given a prison sentence, how it will affect Messi remains to be seen, with the 29-year-old already in a fragile state of mind following his recent decision to quit international football after a biennial COPA America final loss…A lot must be going through the mind of this diminutive genius right now..
Barcelona are breathing a sigh of relief today despite the fact Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence over tax fraud.
Messi and his father, Jorge, were found guilty of defrauding Spain of £3.2m between 2007 and 2009.
However, under Spanish law, if the length of sentence is under two years and the person found guilty has no prior convictions they do not have to spend any time behind bars, which means Messi escapes any real jail time.
The case against Messi and his father focused on money owed to Spanish tax authorities relating to image rights.
During the trial, prosecutors said tax havens in Belize and Uruguay were used to conceal earnings.
During the trial, which Messi skipped the first two days of, the footballer argued in court that he ‘knew nothing’ of his financial affairs and repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Today’s sentences can be appealed.
Spanish champions Barcelona would have been thrown into crisis had Messi had to serve time in jail.
It would mean the club losing their player at a key time – and would have left them desperately seeking a replacement in the summer transfer window.
Messi is also their most marketable asset – but the reputation and status of the Argentinian would have been severely harmed had he gone to jail.
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