It has not been a good week for Javier Mascherano; sent off in Barcelona’s victory against Eibar for insulting the linesman, consequently handed a two-game ban and this morning admitted to two counts of fraud against the Spanish tax authorities, totalling €1.5 million ($1.6 million).
Mascherano appeared in court in Gava, close to Barcelona, but was only present for a couple of minutes as he admitted to concealing part of what he earned in image rights during 2011 and 2012, shortly after he arrived at Barcelona from Liverpool.
A source at the court explained the brevity of Mascherano’s court appearance, saying: “Mascherano admitted the facts of the two counts of tax fraud, so there was no need to interrogate him.”
Last month is was reported that Mascherano had repaid the €1.7 million, which was the full amount plus interest, and so he may avoid a further fine and a trial but the Superior Court of Justice in Catalonia ordered that the case be heard. However, with the amount paid and Mascherano’s admission, the Argentina international’s lawyers expect a deal to be reached and a trial to be avoided.
The €1.5 million in undeclared earnings is supposedly from his Nike sponsorship earnings and image rights in 2011-12. The Nike earnings were kept in a holding company in the United States and his image rights in a company set up in Portugal, and the tax authorities claim that tax was not paid on these earnings despite Mascherano already being a Spanish resident at the time.