Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge, await a court hearing after they paid Spanish authorities €5 million (£4.2 million) following an investigation into tax payments, as reported by Iain Rogers of Reuters.
UPDATE: Wednesday, September 11, at 7:30 a.m. BST
Messi will now appear in court on tax evasion charges on September 27 after the Barcelona striker's hearing was put back ten days by the Spanish authorities.
Jorge Messi will now attend court in Gava, at 10am CET (9am BST) on September 27, with his son appearing an hour later, after their lawyer asked for the September 17 hearing to be postponed as the Barca player had a another engagement scheduled.
---End of Update---
According to the court in Gava, near Barcelona, Messi and his father stumped up the “corrective payment” after allegations that they hid an outstanding sum of £3.4 million. Both deny any wrongdoing.
Incomplete tax returns filed between 2006 and 2009 came under scrutiny from the investigative team, which specialises in tax fraud.
The player's image rights were said to have been hidden across several countries, including the UK, according to the prosecutor's office for tax crimes in Catalonia.
Messi had initially been expected to appear at a Sept. 17 hearing, but after making the €5,016,542.27 corrective payment, he asked for the date to be postponed due to prior commitments.
Barcelona are scheduled to face Ajax at home in their opening Champions League encounter on Sept 18.
Messi, who is currently the world’s greatest footballer, insists his rise to superstardom has forced him to leave all tax issues to his entourage. Rogers provides the quotes:
I never take care of that stuff myself and neither does my father. We have our lawyers and our wealth managers to take care of that and we trust them and they will sort this out.
The truth is that I don't have a clue about all this and that is why we have people taking care of it.
Messi’s global appeal since moving to Barcelona in 2000 has led to the Argentinian establishing yearly earnings of £12.8 million in wages and bonuses alone, according to Forbes.
A further £13 million comes from his varied sponsorship arrangements, which include Adidas and Pepsi.
Regardless of his current off-field issues, Messi has made another astonishing start to the season with Barcelona, netting five goals in two league appearances.
He scored a match-winning hat-trick at Valencia in his last outing and was part of the Barca squad that clinched the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid.