Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez facing tax fraud claims in Spain

Arsenal superstar Alexis Sanchez is reportedly involved in tax evasion scandal though his agent has quickly stepped forward with a statement in his defense, saying the Chile international footballer has done no wrong. The Gunner is facing a financial crime hurdle against the Spanish authorities.

Sanchez has become the latest high-profile player to face trials for fraud in Spain following the trails from Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Mascherano – as if South American footballers have a penchant for fraudulent transactions.

A report from Spanish newspaper El Periodico says Sanchez is accused of defrauding the public purse of 983,443 euros ($1 million) during 2012 and 2013 when he played for Barcelona, The Associated Press wrote.

According to the publication, Fernando Felicevich, who’s Sanchez’s agent, said in a public statement: “Alexis Sanchez has perfectly obeyed every one of the laws imposed by the countries where he has resided.

“We ask the press and public at large for the upmost respect until the completion of the ongoing administrative and judicial process.”

Image: Alexis Sanchez

With the recent financial troubles faced by footballers in Spain, this problem between Sanchez and the Spanish authorities is strictly on alleged undeclared income generated from his image rights.

According to AP, the player transferred his image rights to a company in Malta, an act which prosecutors say is a “smart move”.

Sanchez is accused of using an “instrumental company” based in another country as a representative so he could avoid declaring tax on the rights he has in Spain.

Neymar, Xabi Alonso, Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano have all faced investigations by the Spanish courts for tax fraud on earnings from their image rights.

Mascherano accepted his crime and was given a suspended one-year prison sentence. He was also hit with a fine of 816,000 euros in January. The Argentine admitted he was guilty of tax fraud amounting to 1.5 million euros.

In the same line, Messi, who currently holds a world record five Ballon d’Or trophies, was found guilty by a Spanish law court in July. The Argentina captain and his father were handed a 21-month jail for tax fraud of 4.16 million euros.