The judge handling the Leo Messi tax evasion case has refused to drop the charges and must now stand trial over the alleged £3.2 million tax fraud.
The worst part of this news is that the Argentina and FC Barcelona ace could be jailed for up to six years if found guilty.
An investigating magistrate said that Messi will have to face trial over three counts of tax evasion. Meanwhile, Messi’s dad Jorge, is also to stand trial over alleged tax offences between 2007 and 2009.
However, prosecutors said that only his father would face trial and agreed to drop charges when Jorge Messi paid the court £3.9 million. The court agreed that as it was the star’s father the one involved in his son’s affairs, only he would be standing trial while the Barcelona star got off. But Friday saw a twist in fate when a judge in Gavà, just outside Barcelona where Messi lives, ruled in favour of the Spanish Treasury, who refused to drop the case.
Messi is accused of failing to pay tax on earnings from image rights and the magistrate ruled that it was possible that Leo Messi “knew about and consented to the evasion of tax”.
Although Messi has said that his father was the one who dealt with all money matters, the magistrate said that “it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations to be accused of tax evasion”.
Tax evasion of more than £470,000 can be punished by up to six years in prison in Spain. It is unlikely that Messi will see the inside of a cell in our opinion as the court will probably opt for option B which is a hefty fine of up to six times the amount of tax dodged, which equates to a tidy sum of £19.2 million in Messi’s particular case.