Lionel Messi Tax-Fraud Case Dropped: Latest Details and Analysis

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2014

Barcelona F.C. soccer player Lionel Messi, centre right,  gestures, as he arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case,  in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father are appearing before a Spanish judge to answer questions in a tax fraud case. A complaint lodged by a Spanish state prosecutor in June said Messi and his father tried to conceal earnings from the player's image rights. The complaint alleged the Argentina international owed 4 million euros ($5.3 million) in back taxes from 2007, 2008 and 2009. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Lionel Messi is currently in Brazil leading the Argentina attack in the 2014 World Cup but he received some good news from back in Spain. The case against him in relation to charges of tax fraud will be dropped by prosecutors.

Dermot Corrigan of ESPN reports the judge in the case accepted the decision based on a lack of evidence connecting the Barcelona star to the apparent misconduct. The case against his father, who handles the forward's finances, is expected the continue.

The public relations group working for Messi released a statement on the decision:

The player was unaware and on the margin of the financial and business structure that his financial advisers had created to manage his income and obligatory fiscal payments.

Rodrigo Orihuela of Bloomberg provided further information on the actions reportedly taken by Jorge Messi to avoid taxes on endorsement income:

According to prosecutors, Jorge Messi, the player's father, oversaw the use of companies in Belize, the U.K., Switzerland and Uruguay to divert money away from the Spanish tax agency. The elder Messi has said his son had nothing to do with the tax structure.

Messi maintained throughout the process, which is related to actions allegedly taken between 2007 and 2009, that he had no knowledge of the tax situation. Based on all of the information provided, it appears prosecutors reached the same conclusion.

It's unclear to what extent the case against his father will go. The ESPN report states that the Messi family previously paid €5 million in an attempt the rectify the situation by covering the missing tax fees and reparations, but the case has continued.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15:  Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazi
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

For the Argentine superstar, the decision should take a weight off his shoulders as he chases World Cup glory. He scored a tremendous goal in the team's opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina, which turned out to be the game-winner.

The next hope for him will be that the situation with his father can be resolved quickly. Messi has maintained an otherwise spotless reputation throughout his career, so this entire incident has been like a dark cloud hanging over him.

At least on a personal level, he can move on without any further punishment, which will be welcome news on the other side of the Atlantic.