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Tax fraud: Messi escapes jail term, as court rules he pays €252,000 fine instead

Lionel Messi 'could swap tax fraud jail sentence for $558,000 fine'

Lionel Messi and his father saw their suspended prison sentences for tax fraud reduced to fines by a Barcelona court on Friday.

The pair had been convicted of hiding image rights royalties in offshore accounts and had been given suspended jail terms of 21 and 15 months.

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Messi will pay 252,000 euros ($287,000) and his father 180,000 euros.

Messi will not spend any time in jail after the Barcelona court agreed that his 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud could be replaced with a fine of around €252,000.

Messi’s father Jorge, whose original sentence was reduced to 15 months upon appeal, has also seen his punishment exchanged for a fine of around €180,000.

Prosecutors first said last month that they were not opposed to the Barca star being fined €400 per day for the duration of the sentence, an option also put forward by the player’s defence team.

A judge has now accepted that proposition put forward by prosecutors by making what should be the final decision in a case which has been ongoing for a number of years.

Messi and his father were both found guilty of three counts of tax fraud totalling €4.7 million last year. In addition to their sentences, they were ordered to pay fines of €2m and €1.5m respectively.


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