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Lionel Messi loses Supreme Court appeal over tax fraud conviction

Lionel Messi loses Supreme Court appeal over tax fraud conviction”

Star Lionel Messi discovered that on Wednesday when the Spain Supreme Court upheld a sentence that potentially could have seen the Barcelona forward face 21 months of jail time on three counts of tax fraud. However, the Argentina star is unlikely to go to jail.

The fraud was said to be to the tune of 4.1 million euros (about N2.5 billion) on image rights.

Messi's father Jorge, also found guilty in the original proceedings, saw his sentence reduced from 21 months to 15 due to his co-operation in the case.

As per provisions of under the Spanish law, a prison sentence below two years can be served under probation if the offender has no prior criminal record.

During Wednesday's court proceedings, Messi insisted that he had little knowledge of his father's financial affairs.

The final word regarding their fate remains in the hands of the Barcelona court that signed the sentence which has now been ratified by the Supreme Court.

Messi and his father were first sentenced on July 6 a year ago but launched an appeal, with prosecutors eventually asking the Spanish Supreme Court to review the sentences last month.

Messi and his father were charged with using tax havens in Uruguay and Belize and shell companies in the United Kingdom and Switzerland to avoid paying taxes.

Prosecutors had asked for Messi to be absolved, arguing there was no evidence that the player was aware of how his income was managed.

He resigned as Barcelona president in 2014 after being charged over alleged tax fraud relating to the club's signing of Brazil striker Neymar from Santos.

FC Barcelona past year released a statement in support of Messi following his guilty sentence and launched a campaign in support of him on social media.

The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected Lionel Messi's appeal against his conviction for tax evasion.

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