Lionel Messi is set to face trial for alleged tax evasion after his appeal was rejected by a Spanish judge earlier. Messi and his father, Jorge are accused of defrauding the authorities of more than €4 million and now have five days to appeal this latest decision.
Lionel Messi had claimed that he was unaware of the dealings and there was no evidence of his own personal involvement. However the judge rejected this stating:
“In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity, rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them.”
The allegations are that Messi and his father used companies in Belize and Uruguay to sell the image rights and in doing so they avoided paying these amounts to Spanish authorities.
This took place between 2007 and 2009 concerning Messi’s contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.
However, Messi has always denied any wrong-doing and in August, Jorge Messi paid tax authorities €4.16 million in relation to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest.
It is not clear whether they will appeal this new ruling or what is the next stage in this case.