Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Messi offers to pay $558000 to avoid 21-month jail sentence

Messi offers to pay $558000 to avoid 21-month jail sentence

Lionel Messi told Barcelona last summer he wished to leave the club to join Manchester City before changing his mind, says a report in Spain.

Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi has offered to pay an additional fine of 500,000 euros (£439,000) to ensure he avoids a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud that a judge is expected to suspend, a Spanish state prosecutor said.

The court ordered Messi to pay a fine of around £1.7m and his father to pay £1.27m.

In 2013, when a formal investigation began, Messi and his father made a voluntary €5 million payment to the Spanish tax authorities as a "corrective" measure.

According to El Mundo Deportivo, the five-time Ballon d'Or victor told the Catalans of his intentions in the same week as retiring from global duty with Argentina in the summer of 2016.

"They don't want there to be a photo of Ronaldo in the dock, but Messi did have to go through that".

The Barcelona star was found guilty of three counts of tax fraud along with his father. This would be on top of a almost 2 million euro fine that was handed down as part of last year's sentence.

The prosecutors had alleged that Messi used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to hide earnings from image rights.

In the last two weeks, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho have been accused by a Madrid-based state prosecutor of having defrauded Spain's Tax Office of millions of euros (dollars) in unpaid taxes.

He is due to be questioned on July 31 on suspicion of evading 14.7 million euros in taxes.

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