No Jail Time For Messi, Only a Fine
Last year, Barcelona superstar, Lionel Messi, and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were tried on counts of tax evasion and both were subsequently found guilty of those charges. There were three counts of fraud which amounted to €4.7 million. The charges stemmed from proceeds Messi made through endorsement deals and not through his salary from Barcelona. The pair were found guilty in using tax havens in Uruguay and Belize in addition to shell companies in Switzerland and the U.K. to hide Messi’s earnings made between 2007 and 2009.
Messi was sentenced to 21 months in jail while his father was sentenced to 15 months. In addition to the jail terms, Messi will have to pay €2 million and his father €1.5 million.
Now, it seems that Messi will be able to avoid prison time by paying an additional fine. Prosecutors were warm to the idea of having the prison sentence replaced with a fine. The fine would equal €400 a day for the duration of the sentence, an amount which totals €255,500.
As for his father, the same deal could be applied which amounts to €180,000.
Although the deals are proposed, the final decision lies in the hands of a judge. It’s likely that the decision will be favorable to the Messi’s. In Spain, a judge can suspend prison sentences that are less than 24 months for first-time offenders.