About a year ago, in July 2016, Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on $4.16 million euros of Messi’s income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.
Today, Spain’s Supreme Court confirmed that Messi had received a 21-month jail sentence and $2.25 million fine.
The hidden income related to Messi’s image rights that include endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company. While both Messi and his father were given 21 months in jail, the sentences are likely to be suspended. In Spain, it is common for non-violent crime sentences to be suspended for first-time offenders.
via Yahoo News:
While the court confirmed the sentence for Messi on Wednesday, it reduced it to 15 months jail for his father, taking into account that his football star son had paid back the defrauded money to tax authorities.
During last year’s trial, Messi had argued that he trusted his father with his finances and “knew nothing” about how his wealth was managed. But the Supreme Court argued that he would have known about his obligation to pay taxes on income earned from his image rights.
Messi’s tax fraud trial in June last year took place against a backdrop of simmering voter anger over steep cuts to health and social spending, as the government struggles to bring Spain’s public deficit down.
Messi, one of the most famous athletes in the world, has a reported net worth of close to $300 million.