22 Nov, 2020 @ 13:30
1 min read

Nasty surprise for Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as tax man boards superstar’s jet

Messi court
TRIAL: Messi and father heading to court

BARCELONA superstar Lionel Messi had  a miserable welcome when he returned to Spain – the Spanish tax man was waiting for his private jet to touch down.

As his flight returned from Argentina where Messi had been on international duty, five people from the tax agency boarded the flight to demand documentation from the  Barcelona football player and the plane’s crew.

Messi court
TRIAL: Messi in the 2016 court case

Messi was then ordered to pay an undisclosed tax before leaving El prat airport.

Speaking to reporters he said: “After 15 hours of flying, I come up against people from the tax agency. It’s crazy.”

In 2016 Messi and his father Jorge were found guilty of tax fraud, with both being given suspended 21 month prison sentences. Messi was also ordered to pay a fine of €1.8 million.

The Argentinian and Barcelona forward was found to have defrauded the Spanish government of €4.1million.

Both him and his father were found to have concealed profits made from the sale of image rights between 2007 and 2009, using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay.

“I didn’t know anything, all I know about is playing football and winning. I left it all to my Dad,” Messi  told the court.

“I only knew that sponsors would pay X amount of money, that I had to do adverts, photos and things like that

“I never read anything… I would sign where they said.

“I signed [the adidas contract] when I was 18, I was in another world.”

While his father managed all his financial affairs, it was argued Messi knew enough to be culpable.

Jorge Messi had earlier said he was unaware that the offshore Belize company that handled image rights didn’t pay taxes to Spain, and that he never told his son the details of sponsorship deals.

“Since the start of Leo’s career I only tried to make his life easier,” he said.

“Leo knew nothing of these companies. He didn’t read the contracts.

“They needed his signature, he went and signed but he didn’t read anything and nor did anyone explain it to him.”

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