Lionel Messi To Stand Trial Accused Of Tax Fraud

Judges Throw Out Appeal

Lionel Messi tax fraud trialLionel Messi will stand trial for tax fraud after a Spanish court decided that his alleged ignorance of financial decisions was not reason enough to absolve him from guilt.

The decision came in the Barcelona Provincial High Court which believes that Messi “benefited” from a network of companies set up by his father Jorge in tax havens such as Belize, Switzerland and Uruguay as well as in the United Kingdom when he was still a minor. The companies were to market Messi’s image.

Messi’s lawyers have argued that as his father set up the network of companies then the Argentine star was unaware of what was being done in his name.

“[Messi] never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, his lawyers argued. But the judges stated that Messi ratified the contracts once he turned 18 and that his name appeared as sole administrator of one of the companies.

The verdict means that both Lionel Messi and Jorge Horacio Messi will continue to be investigated for tax fraud for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Messi has repaid €4.1million in unpaid taxes, a move that caused one politician to criticise what he saw as the soft stance being taken against the Barcelona player. Today’s decision backs the Spanish tax agency which insisted that Messi ought to be prosecuted alongside his father.