Messi to stand trial for tax fraud in Spain

09 October 2015 BBC Online


Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi and his father should stand trial on tax fraud charges, a court in Spain has ruled.
The judge in charge of the case rejected the request by prosecutors to drop the charges against the striker.
Messi and his father Jorge are accused of defrauding Spain of more than €4m (£3.1m; $5m). They deny any wrongdoing.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.
Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoided paying tax on his son's earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay in 2007-09.
Messi's lawyers had argued that the player had "never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing" the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported earlier.
"There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties," wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
No date has been set for the trial of the 28-year-old footballer - the four-time World Player of the Year and one of the richest athletes in the world.

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