Barcelona football star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud.
The court also sentenced the Argentine soccer player’s father, Jorge, to 21 months in prison for the same three crimes. The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, the court statement said.
However, under Spanish law a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation, meaning Messi and his father are unlikely to go to jail.
The footballer and his father Jorge stood accused of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of more than €4 million by using offshore companies in Belive and Uruguay to hide earnings.
Prosecutors had sought a 22-month sentence for both. The footballer’s lawyers had argued throughout the case that he had nothing to do with his tax affairs and knew nothing of them.
The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around €2 million and his father to pay €1.5 million