Lionel Messi Accused of Forming Fraudulent Companies to Avoid Tax

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 29, 2014 3:32 PM EST

This may not be a good time for Lionel Messi. After the heart-breaking loss at the FIFA World Cup 2014 final against Germany, the Argentine captain now has to suffer another difficult opponent. Messi, if proven guilty, would be prosecuted for tax evasion by a Spanish court. The Barcelona court issued an official statement on Monday, July 28 to continue charges against Leo.

REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts after Germany won their 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014.

The court decided to carry on with the case even after the public prosecutor placed his recommendation for the dismissal of the charges. According to the prosecutor, it was Messi's father Jorge who should be held responsible for handling the family. The court in Barcelona, on the other hand, thinks that Messi may be aware of forming shell companies allegedly to evade taxes. The court also thinks that the four-time world player of the year may even have approved of the process. Therefore, the tax evasion enquiries will not take place against Messi and his father.

The 27-year-old FIFA Golden Ball 2014 winner, along with his father, denied the charges placed against them. Jorge is already under radar. He is presently being investigated for allegedly having $5 million unpaid dues since 2007. The court apparently has enough "sufficient evidence" against the junior Messi as well. He allegedly tried to avoid paying taxes for the revenue he earned for the rights of his own images.

Leo Messi is one of the most highly-paid athletes in the world. He reportedly earned $65 million in 2013 only. When he finalised a $343 million deal with FC Barcelona in 2006, it became the biggest sporting deal in history. The deal was signed for 8 years, to be valid until 2016. Under the present deal, Messi earns more than $40 million every year from his club only. He also has million dollar endorsement deals with sponsoring companies.

The tax scandal, meanwhile, may be considered as a stigma on the image of a sporting personality who is often considered to be one of the "gentlemen" of the game.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach / )
Argentina's Lionel Messi reacts after Germany won their 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014.
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