Leo Messi to face trial over €4.1m tax fraud

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BARCELONA Football Club’s star player Lionel Messi, is to face trial for alleged tax fraud as the Barcelona Provincial High Court turned down an appeal made by his lawyers, attempting to avoid him having to face the music in the dock.
The court was content that there was evidence enough in the allegations against the Argentinian star for him to stand trial for ‘benefiting’ from a network of businesses that allowed him to defraud the Spanish tax office of some €4.1 million.
Although the court emphasised that now was not the time to decide whether or not the player was aware of the fraud scheme, and that should be left for the hearing, Messi and his father will remain under investigation.
The three counts of alleged fraud are said to have occurred between the years 2007 and 2009, as a result of Messi’s father, Jorge Horacio Messi, allegedly forming a network of companies when Messi was still a minor.
Apparently the network was used to simulate the handing over of the player’s image rights, thus allowing him to pay less tax on the multimillion-euro advertising contracts he landed.
However, Messi’s lawyers argued that the Barca star had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts.

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