Messi due in court over tax fraud case

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and his father will appear in court on Friday in a hearing to determine whether the Spanish government pursues them for tax fraud, according to EuroSport.

Messi and father, Jorge, are accused of evading 4.2 million euros in tax on earnings made between 2007 and 2009 from sponsors, including Adidas, PepsiCo and Proctor and Gamble.

The prosecution’s case centers around income from Messi’s image rights, income which the prosecution alleges was hidden through a web of shell companies in Uruguay and Belize.

The Argentine and his father deny the charges, claiming instead the deals were done by Messi’s former agent without their knowledge.

“We have always fulfilled our tax obligations following the advice of our tax consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation,” a statement from Messi and his father read.

The duo paid back 5m euros to the Spanish state as a “corrective payment” in early September but it has not prevented the hearing scheduled for today.

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