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Messi’s lawyers make confusing contradiction in tax fraud case

Jun 22, 2013, 5:56 PM EST

FBL-ESP-MESSI-JUSTICE-FILES Getty Images

With Barcelona superstar and four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi mired in a tax fraud investigation, his lawyers have submitted a head-scratcher to the public.

Messi’s hired law firm Juarez Veciana said in a released statement, “We declare that our client will pay the amount determined. But we believe that our client has already paid what was legally obliged.

As the Associated Press put it, “Lionel Messi’s lawyers insist the tax fraud allegations are baseless but say he will settle any outstanding obligations if needed.”

Huh?

If he’s paid in full, why would there be any outstanding obligations?

With the 25-year-old striker facing a fine amounting to 150 percent of the concealed earnings and between two and six years in prison, it’s incredibly confusing why Messi would maintain his innocence and yet offer to pay the alleged back-taxes.

The court alleges the Argentine owes €4 million ($5.3 million) in evaded taxes, having used cover companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid payments on image rights and and income.

The 10th-highest paid athlete in the world according to Forbes, Messi is most likely looking to cooperate in the best way possible without admitting guilt. He may also be trying to find the quickest way out of the scandal, as a court date conflicts with a Barcelona Champions League date in September.

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