Sports / Soccer

Leo Messi to face fraud charges after appeal turned down

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-06-11 09:41

Leo Messi to face fraud charges after appeal turned down

Argentina's Lionel Messi smiles during a training session in La Serena, June 9, 2015. Argentina will play the group B matches along with Paraguay, Uruguay and Jamaica in the upcoming Copa America 2015 soccer tournament in Chile. [Photo/Agencies]

MADRID - FC Barcelona and Argentina star Leo Messi will have to face trial for alleged tax fraud after a court in the town of Gava, just outside of Barcelona turned down an appeal against him having to appear.

Messi and his father face charges of defrauding 4.1 million euros in income tax (around 4.5 million U.S. dollars) from the Spanish Treasury after the Barcelona Provincial High Court ruled there is evidence he "benefitted" from a network of companies organized by his father, Jorge over the years 2007-2009.

The court made the decision despite Jorge insisting that he had organized everything and Leo's defense arguing that Leo had "never spent a minute of his life, studying or analyzing" the paperwork, all of which was handled by his father.

Although the Spanish State Prosecutor had been in favor of clearing Messi the judges argued that despite his lack of knowledge he had signed the contract and that a lack of knowledge of the fraud did signify impunity given that he had benefitted from the fraud.

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