Lionel Messi Reaches €15 Million Settlement in Tax Fraud Case

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJune 27, 2013

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and his father have reached a €15 million ($19,552,500) settlement with Spanish tax authorities, according to ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan.

The settlement means that Messi can finally begin to put the ongoing distraction behind him and get back to preparation for next season. According to Spanish website El Periodico (via Corrigan), the reported settlement agreement means there will be no further action taken by the authorities.

The two men were scheduled to appear in court in Spain on Sept. 17 to address the charges of tax fraud. According to Corrigan, the charges against Messi and his father, Jorge, claimed that the duo and the star's financial advisers "had illegally re-routed image rights revenues through offshore tax havens to avoid paying the €4.1 million tax due."

Earlier this week, it was reported that Messi had made an additional €10 million ($13,035,000) payment to tax authorities in order to cover his image rights for 2010 and 2011.

With the payment date for those same 2012 taxes set for the end of June, Corrigan suggests that the total amount Messi is paying out for image rights taxes is roughly €30 million ($39,105,000).

According to the report, Messi and his father could have potentially faced up to five years in prison if found guilty of tax fraud in a Spanish court. 

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Messi, who turned 26 earlier this week, is widely regarded as the best football player on the planet. He scored a record 91 combined goals between club and international play in 2012. The Barcelona star recently put pen to paper on a contract extension that will keep him at the club through 2018 and pay him $20 million per year (via Forbes)

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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