JAVIER Mascherano has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.

The Argentine defender has also been fined €815,000 for two counts of fiscal crimes committed in 2011 and 2012.

SPARED: Mascherano walks free from court
SPARED: Mascherano walks free from court

Mascherano was spared jail  after admitting the offence and repaying the amount owed as well as a large fine.

The case judge acccepted the request of Mascherano’s lawyer, David Aineto, to suspend the sentence in return for a further fine.

Mascherano said: “I don’t know a lot about legal and financial matters.

“Therefore I must rely on the people that manage these technical, and for me, complicated, issues.

“All my career I have been an honest and responsible person. I will take as another experience which will leave me stronger and calmed by the fact that I am once again within the law.”

Mascherano’s Barcelona and Argentina team-mate, Lionel Messi, is set to appear in court from May 31 to June 3 on tax fraud charges.