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Lionel Messi given extra fine for tax fraud to avoid prison sentence

Football superstar Lionel Messi and his father can avoid prison for tax fraud by paying an extra fine, a Spanish court has ruled.

Instead of serving his 21-month sentence, the Barcelona and Argentina forward will be fined an extra 252,000 euros (£223,000).

The Barcelona-based court also ruled that Messi's father, Jorge Horacio Messi, will be fined an extra 180,000 euros (£159,000) instead of serving his 15-month sentence.

The ruling was widely expected in Spain, where prison sentences under 24 months for first-time offenders can be waived by a judge.

Last year, a court found Messi and his father each guilty of three counts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros (£3.6 million) from 2007-09.

The unpaid taxes were from money made through endorsement deals, not Messi's salary paid by Barcelona.

In that ruling Messi was also fined 2 million euros (£1.7 million) and his father 1.5 million euros (£1.3 million).

Both were originally sentenced to 21 months, but his father's sentence was later reduced to 15 months.


From Belfast Telegraph