Soccer star Lionel Messi just lost his Supreme Court appeal over all alleged tax fraud, and the player has been sentenced to 21 months in jail.
Messi, 29, was sentenced in Spain for failing to pay a total tax amount of £3.5m but the Barcelona hit man is unlikely to spend a day behind bars.
Spanish laws state that any sentence below 2 years can be served as probation.
However, the No. 10’s father Jorge Heracio Messi is also a defendant in the financial fraud case which went on trials last year.
Jorge received a jail term of 21 months although his time may be reduced to 15 months, media reports confirm. He will not serve his time “because he cooperated by returning the defrauded money to the tax authorities,” writes the Associated Press.
The Spanish government said Messi, through his father and agents, siphoned the alleged millions in a period of three years — 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Barcelona have thrown their full weight behind their super striker who football analysts initially reported as “poorly treated.”
“The club reiterates, once again, its full support for Leo Messi, his father Jorge Messi, and his family,” Barcelona spokesman Josep Vives said in a statement.
“Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu contacted the player’s family to communicate this support. The family was very grateful, not only for today’s gesture, but also for the support the player and his family have received from the club throughout this process,” the rep adds.
“The Club will continue to stand with Leo Messi, his father, and his family.”
According to a report from The Sun, Messi has been ordered to pay around £1.7m while his father Jorge will debit £1.1m, a significant deduction from the initial £1.3m issued as fine.
Messi, Neymar, and Mascherano are a few famous athletes who have faced jail terms for fraud-related crimes.
Image shows Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Heracio Messi.
The five-time World Best Player said at a court hearing last summer, “I was dedicated to playing soccer.
“I trusted my father and the lawyers that we had chosen to deal with our affairs. At no time did I think that they could deceive me.”