Barcelona player Lionel Messi.


Lionel Messi faces jail term for tax fraud. Here’s how he’s trying to avoid prison


BARCELONA – Football star Lionel Messi is facing a 21-month jail term for tax fraud that a judge is expected to suspend, but the Spanish player is not leaving anything to chance.

Messi has offered to pay an additional fine of 500,000 euros (Dh2 million) just to ensure he doesn’t land in jail, a Spanish state prosecutor said on Friday.

State prosecutor Isabel Lopez Riera said Messi’s lawyers offered the deal to the judge who will rule on whether to suspend Messi’s sentence.

She added that Messi’s lawyers also made a similar offer for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, who faces a 15-month jail sentence for helping the Barcelona player cheat on his taxes. Lawyers offered to pay 360,000 euros ($402,000) in lieu of a prison term.

Under Spanish law, prison sentences under 24 months for first-time offenders can be suspended by a judge.

Last year, a court in Barcelona found Messi and his father guilty of three counts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million) from 2007 to 2009.

Messi was fined 2 million euros and his father was fined 1.5 million euros. Both were originally sentenced to 21 months, but his father’s sentence was later cut to 15 months. DAJ/Expat Media


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