Lionel Messi Loses Tax Fraud Appeal, Will Face Trial
I guess FC Barcelona‘s recent championship celebration will be short-lived for Lionel Messi. The soccer superstar learned yesterday (as did the world) that his most recent appeal on tax fraud charges didn’t win, so he’ll be going to court. Messi argued that he didn’t know what was being done with his finances after both he and his father were charged with Spanish tax evasion for using international companies to sell his endorsement rights.
The total amount that Spain claims they’re owed is about $5MM.
The appeals court said that it wasn’t up to them to determine if he knew of the activities in question. They decreed that would be determined in a full trial.
El Pais newpaper reports Messi has said that he “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” his business affairs or contracts. Hmm. I’m not sure where that argument would fly. Maybe in a country that REALLY likes soccer, but that doesn’t seem to be policy for most civil or criminal suits.
Messi made a $5.5 million “corrective payment” two years ago, but it seems to be a case of “too little, too late.” No word on a trial date yet.