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Javier Mascherano sentenced to one year in prison for tax fraud

Javier Mascherano's lawyers are seeking to convert a one-year prison sentence into a fine after the Barcelona midfielder admitted two counts of tax fraud, according to reports in Spain.

The 31-year-old appeared in court on Thursday and accepted the one-year sentence as well as a fine of 815.000 euros (£625,000), although it is expected he will not serve any prison time with his legal representatives having requested the sentence be suspended and replaced with a fine.

Mascherano, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010, admitted fraud last year and according to a court filing has repaid 1.75million euros (£1.35m), the full amount he owed plus interest.

Following Thursday's ruling, the Argentina international released a statement via his Twitter account and the Barcelona website in which he said: "I'm a sporting professional, I don't have a great understanding of tax and legal matters.

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Javier Mascherano expected to avoid jail time in tax case  

"Therefore, to deal with what are for me technical and complicated matters, I have to rely on other people.

"Throughout all my career I have been an honest person, responsible and respectful of my team-mates and the clubs that I have played for and the countries I have lived in.

'''I reserve the possibility of action against those who have badly advised me by recommending something that was not right."

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