Messi, father sentenced for tax fraud in Spain

Barcelo, July 6: A Spanish court on Wednesday sentenced FC Barcelo's Argentine star Lionel Messi and his father to a prison term for tax fraud committed between 2007 and 2009.

The Barcelo Provincial Court ruled that Messi and his father, Jorge Messi, had committed three counts of tax fraud that were punishable with 21 months (one year and 9 months) in prison, reports Efe.

In Spanish law, it is not mandatory for a first offender to go to prison if the sentence is under two years.

The court also fined Messi two million euros ($2.21 million) for evading income taxes in 2007, 2008 and 2009, while his father was fined 1.5 million euros ($1.66 million) for the same offence. During the trial, the public prosecutor only accused the five-time Ballon D'Or winner's father, demanding 18 months in prison.

However, the state attorney asked for 22 months and 15 days in prison for both father and son, accusing both of willfully evading 4.1 million euros ($4.54 million).

The sentence can be appealed before the Spanish Supreme Court.

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