Barcelona’s football star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge today lost their appeal in Spain’s Supreme Court against a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud.
The court has also imposed a two-million-euro (approx. Rs 14 crore) fine on Messi. His father has been ordered to pay a fine of 1.5-million-euro (approx. Rs 9.7 crore).
The 29-year-old, five-time world player of the year, was found guilty by a Barcelona court last July on three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009.
However, neither Messi nor his father is likely to serve the jail term. Here’s why.
Under Spanish law, any sentence under two years for a non-violent crime rarely requires a defendant without previous convictions to serve jail time.
Messi, 29, and his father defrauded the Spanish tax office of almost 4.2 million Euros from 2007-09 by using a web of shell companies in countries such as Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize to avoid taxes on income from the player's image rights.