Just days after winning the historic double treble with Barcelona, Argentine Lionel Messi is set to stand trial over alleged tax fraud, amounting to 4.1 million Euros.
The decision came on Wednesday when a provincial court in Barcelona rejected the footballer’s appeal that was lodged by his lawyers.
Messi’s father, Jorge Horacio Messi was accused of ignoring tax, amounting to 3 million Pounds (4.1 million Euros) for the tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
According to a report by The Guardian, Jorge was accused of selling his son’s image rights through companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
A report by MailOnline, has said that at the time when Messi was a minor he had signed contracts with Banc Sabadell, Telefonica, Danone, Air Europa, Adidas and Pepsi for the combined amount of 10 million Euros, but no tax was ever paid on them in Spain.
The same report by The Guardian has said that the image rights were sold in order to ignore reported earnings of Messi in Spain. However, both the star and his father have denied any malpractice.
The same report has added that in October, 2014, a court near Barcelona ruled that irrespective of Messi’s knowledge of the wrongdoings in the companies, he had to face trial. It was then that his lawyers lodged an appeal.
According to the same report by MailOnline, the family appeal that was put forward on behalf of Messi said that the superstar didn’t devote “a minute of his life” to reading or analyzing the contracts.
However, the report by The Guardian has said that he approved the contracts upon turning 18, and was the only administrator of one of the companies.
The court has stuck by its decision, and has said that even if Messi didn’t know about the fraud he can’t be let go.
The same report by The Guardian has also said that last year, Messi and his father made voluntary compensation of 5 million Euros for the 4.1 million Euros alleged unpaid tax. Even so, the court has ordered for the father-son duo to stay under investigation.
Messi is currently in Chile to lead Argentina for Copa America. In a recent list by Forbes magazine, he has taken the fourth position as the 100 highest paid athletes’ in the world.