Lionel Messi Ordered to Face Spanish Tax Fraud Charges, Recommended for Prison

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2015

Barcelona F.C. soccer player Lionel Messi, left,  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/Paco Serinelli)
Paco Serinelli/Associated Press

A Spanish court has confirmed Lionel Messi and his father will stand trial for tax evasion, with the legendary Barcelona player facing a jail term if found guilty. 

AS says the Argentina captain faces three charges involving tax fraud, with a possible sentence of over 22 months in jail if the allegations are proved during a trial. 

Agence France-Presse (h/t Yahoo.com) reports the judge in charge of the case ruled against the public prosecutor's request to try only Messi's father, implicating the player.

AFP outlined the facts behind the upcoming case: "The pair were accused in 2013 of defrauding the taxman out of 4.16 million euros ($4.69 million) in taxes related to Messi's image rights between 2007 and 2009 through the creation of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay."

Prosecutors had requested for Messi to not face trial, but tax authorities asked for both men to face charges, with the judge deciding, per AFP, "There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties."

No date has been set yet for the case to be heard.

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