Lionel Messi fined $2.3 million for tax fraud, avoids jail time

Lionel Messi’s wallet just got a bit lighter.

Wednesday, a Barcelona court ruled between 2007-2009 Messi committed tax fraud and recommended a sentence of seven months for each year, meaning a 21-month sentence.

Instead, the court ruled for the $2.3 million fine, according to John Sinnott of CNN.com:

However, because this was the first time the Barcelona forward had committed an offense and his sentence was less than two years, the 29-year-old Messi won’t serve jail time as long as he doesn’t break the law again.

It also expanded on the situation involving Messi’s father:

Messi’s father Jorge Messi was handed a 21-month jail sentence and a $1.7 million fine tax fraud, though also like his son he won’t serve time as he also doesn’t have a criminal record.

The Associated Press expanded on the situation:

Tax inspectors testified that they found evidence that Messi’s father used companies in countries such as Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize to reduce tax on the player’s income from image rights. Messi’s father said he was told by a legal adviser that the practice was legal.

Messi’s representatives claim he had no knowledge of wrongdoing and the process confirms a lack of criminal activity in his past. He’s already paid what he owes and FC Barcelona has publicly backed him throughout the ordeal.

Given a lack of criminal history and the sentence coming in at less than two years, Messi will avoid jail time unless he commits another crime.

Messi announced his retirement from international play last month after a crushing loss to Chile.

Chris Roling

About Chris Roling

Chris is an Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism graduate and associate editor here at TSD. He also covers breaking news and the NFL at Bleacher Report and resides in Athens (OH) with his wife and two dogs.

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