Lionel Messi tax fraud case: Barcelona star cleared of all charges but prosecutors want jail time for father

Joe Hall
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In the clear: Messi has been exonerated of wrongdoing (Source: Getty)

Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi has been cleared of wrongdoing in a tax fraud case by Spanish prosecutors who are now calling for the arrest of his father.

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Charges against Messi that he had defrauded Spanish authorities of €4.1m (£3m) worth of income tax have been dropped, but prosecutors are continuing to pursue charges against his father Jorge Horacio Messi.

Messi Sr. is alleged to have avoided paying tax on his son's earnings through sponsorship and image rights contracts signed with companies such as Danone, Adidas and Pepsi-Cola, by using shell companies based in Belize and Uruguay.

Prosecutors are now seeking an 18-month prison sentence and €2m fine to be brought against him.

Messi denied any knowledge of the offshore companies and had previously had an appeal against the charges rejected by a Barcelona court.

In August 2013, Messi and his father made a voluntary €5m payment to the Spanish government to cover his alleged unpaid tax.

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