Messi ‘not worried’ over tax fraud case

Barcelona star Lionel Messi on Tuesday said he was
unconcerned about accusations of tax avoidance on
income generated from the sale of his image rights
and was confident his lawyers will solve the case.
Last month the 25-year-old and his father Jorge
Horacio were ordered by a Spanish Messi ‘not worried’ over tax fraud case
court to appear
for questioning in September as part of an
investigation into alleged tax fraud.
“I’m not worried, I’m always on the sidelines of all of
that, just like my dad. We have our lawyers and our
advisors who handle these things. We trust in them
and they will solve the issue,” he said.
“I don’t understand anything about all of that, this is
why we have people who handle these issues,” he
added at a news conference at the club’s training
ground.
Spanish financial crimes prosecutors filed papers
with a court on June 12 accusing Messi and his father
of defrauding the tax office of over four million euros
($5 million, £3.4 million) in income related to the use
of his image from 2006-2009.
Messi and his father aimed to deceive the state by
ceding the player’s image rights to companies based
in tax havens such as Belize and Uruguay so they
would pay no tax in Spain, according to the
prosecutor’s complaint filed at a court in Gava, a
Mediterranean coastal town near Barcelona.
The prosecutor’s complaint also alleged the four-time
World Player of the Year and his father drew up deals
related to his image rights in Britain and Switzerland,
ensuring that the income went straight to the tax
havens without any tax being paid.
The accusations of tax fraud are a huge blow to the
prestige of Messi, who has long been seen as a more
humble figure than most top-class footballers — in
particular his fierce Real Madrid rival Cristiano
Ronaldo.
Messi’s lawyers office, Juarez Veciana, have said the
player “scrupulously complies with Spanish
legislation” and will “pay any amount that he is
eventually found to owe”
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