Spain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence to football superstar Lionel Messi and his father Jorge for tax fraud.
In July of 2016, the Barcelona megastar and his father Jorge were accused of cheating the Spanish treasury of €4.1m from €10.1m in image rights earnings between 2007 and 2009. But if reports are to be believed, Leo Messi had already returned the amount defrauded before the trial.
The father-son duo had fought the sentence but the state dismissed their appeal and handed them the jail sentence. The Argentina number 10 had throughout maintained that he had done nothing wrong. Jorge, Messi’s father, however, blamed their tax advisers. Jorge had also requested a year and a half in prison, if convicted.
Messi had maintained that he had no idea about the tax evasion. The court, however, said that Messi’s ignorance due “indifference” was not enough to exempt him from the sentence.
However, as per Spanish law, any sentence under two years can be served on probation. Therefore, it is unlikely that Lionel Messi or his father will serve any time in an actual prison.