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Lionel Messi WILL face trial over tax charges, alongside father

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Lionel Messi reacts in frustration after missing a penalty

Image credit: Reuters

ByTom Adams
08/10/2015 at 13:29 | Updated 08/10/2015 at 13:54
@tomadams83

Barcelona star Lionel Messi will face trial for tax fraud, despite prosecutors saying he had no case to answer.

Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer and his father, Jorge, have been accused of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of €4.1 million (£3.46m) between 2007 and 2009.

Earlier this week, prosecutors dropped the charges against Messi because they believed he had no knowledge of a fraud allegedly carried out by his father, whom they sought an 18-month prison sentence for.

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (2nd R) arrives in court to answer charges of tax evasion in Gava September 27, 2013.

Image credit: Reuters

But the judge in the case has accepted the recommendations of the state attorney, who said the player should also be on trial for the three counts.

As a result, Messi will attend court with his father. State law calls for 22 and a half months in prison for the alleged offences.

The hearings will take place at a court in Vilanova i la Geltru near Barcelona, the document said.

The court had previously ruled that Messi could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies that were allegedly used to evade taxes on income from image rights.

Revenue had been hidden using companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, according to the prosecutor's office.

Messi and his father paid 5 million euros (£3.7m) to the tax authorities as a "corrective payment" after they were formally charged in June 2013.

With additional reporting from Reuters

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