Sep 27, 2013, 3:19 PM EDT
Giving the assembled crowd a thumbs up and a cheeky smile, you wouldn’t think Lionel Messi was just about to step into a Spanish courtroom to face charges of serious fraud on Friday morning.
It seems like he should be more worried than he is.
Messi, 26, and his father Jorge Messi are accused of defrauding the Spanish authorities of more than 4m euros ($5.4m) as the four time winner of FIFA World Player of the Year has been under intense pressure all summer, since the allegations became public knowledge.
Appearing before a judge in the affluent area of Gava near Barcelona, the Argentine attacker and his father deny the allegations, while The Messis’ lawyer said he wanted to resolve the matter. The root of the allegations comes after the soccer star and his father are suspected of using companies abroad – in Belize and Uruguay – to sell Messi’s image rights and skipping out Spanish tax obligations. They were accused of doing this from 2007-09
According to reports leaking out of the closed-court, the full blame has been put on Jorge Messi and Barcelona’s star striker Lionel had no knowledge of what was going on. Also, Jorge Messi has already paid the Spanish tax authorities 5m euros in August to settle the unpaid bill, with interest, and many thought the matter would be resolved rather quickly. However, with the Spanish credit crunch hitting many hard, it is believed the authorities want to make an example of Barca’s main man, as he allegedly undertook fraudulent activities, following several top companies paying for his image rights.
Whatever the outcome of this case is, many will question how other soccer stars, and other top athletes for that matter, are selling their image rights.
More to come…
- Complete list of every transfer in the Premier League on Deadline Day 0
- Manchester United fires back on De Gea saga, laying blame at feet of Real Madrid 1
- GRADES: How did each Premier League team fare in the Summer Transfer Window? 4
- Manchester United confirm $55 million signing of teenage striker Anthony Martial 0
- Deadline Day transfer rumor roundup: Hector to Chelsea, Berahino to Tottenham 0
- How did David de Gea’s move to Real Madrid collapse? Here’s a few answers 3