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Messi cleared of tax fraud but Spanish prosecutor wants jail for father

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Jorge Messi, father of Lionel Messi

Image credit: Reuters

ByReuters
06/10/2015 at 16:20 | Updated 06/10/2015 at 16:50

Spain's public prosecutor has recommended a jail sentence totaling 18 months and fines of more than 2 million euros (£1.49million) for Lionel Messi's father Jorge in a tax fraud case.

The prosecutor reiterated that Lionel Messi should not have to face charges for allegedly defrauding the state of 4.2 million euros for the years 2007-2009 as his father was in charge of his finances, documents published on Tuesday showed.

However, the court overseeing the case already rejected Messi's appeal last year and ruled that he could have approved the creation of a web of shell companies that were apparently used to evade taxes due on income from his image rights.

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

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Image credit: PA Sport

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

Lionel Messi has been resident in Barcelona since 2000 and gained Spanish citizenship in 2005.

He is 10th on Forbes Magazine's list of the world's highest-earning athletes over the past decade with income of $350 million.

($1 = 0.8875 euros)

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