Alexis Sanchez Given 16-Month Prison Sentence for Tax Fraud in Spain

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United  during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on February 3, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Alexis Sanchez has been given a 16-month suspended prison sentence for defrauding the Spanish government of €1 million (£900,000) during his time at Barcelona, but he will not spend any time behind bars.

According to Sport, the Chilean appeared in court in January via video conference and pleaded guilty to hiding earnings related to his image rights. He was handed eight months in prison each for two separate offences between 2012 and 2013.

Sanchez has repaid all the money owed plus interest and was also fined £525,000, according to the Mirror's Martin Domin.

Domin reported Sanchez set up a company in Malta, Numidia Trading, to avoid paying tax on his image rights income.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The Manchester United forward was represented in the case by lawyer David Aineto, who also acted on behalf of former Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano during his own tax case two years ago.

Mascherano received a year in prison and a fine of €815,000, having defrauded the Spanish government of €1.6 million. Like Sanchez, though, he did not spend any time in jail.

In Spain, sentences under two years for non-violent crimes are typically suspended unless further offences are committed.

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Sanchez, who joined United from Arsenal last month, will now look to put the chapter behind him as he moves on with his new team.