Messi’s Spanish jail sentence for tax fraud to stand
A 21-month jail term handed down last year to Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi has been confirmed by Spain’s Supreme Court, but he is unlikely to go to prison.
Messi and his father Jorge, who manages his finances, were both convicted in 2016 of defrauding Spain of €4.1m (£3.5m; $4.6m) in taxes.
Jorge Messi’s jail term was reduced because he paid some of the taxes.
In Spain, prison terms of under two years can be served under probation.
The case will now return to the court in Barcelona that handed down the original judgement.
Lionel Messi, a five-time world footballer of the year, has always denied any involvement and told his trial in June 2016 that “I only worried about playing football.”
Both men were convicted of three counts of fraud, for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009, and were also given weighty fines.
They were found guilty of using fictitious companies to evade paying Spanish taxes on income that came from companies paying for the use of Lionel Messi’s image rights.
Jorge Messi’s jail term was reduced from 21 months to 15 by the Supreme Court to take into account the money he had since handed to the tax authorities.