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Lionel Messi, father accused of tax fraud in Spain

MADRID: Spanish tax authorities have accused Barcelona’s Argentina forward Lionel Messi and his father of defrauding the state of more than four million euros ($5.3 million).

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The World Player of the Year and his father Jorge allegedly filed fraudulent tax returns for the years 2007-2009, according to a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office for tax crimes in Catalonia.

Messi, who will be 26 this month, is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes with a salary of just over $20 million a season, according to Forbes magazine.

On top of his Barca wages, he pulls in around $21 million in endorsements from sponsors including Adidas, PepsiCo and P&G and he is 10th on Forbes’ latest list of top-earning athletes.

In a statement released via his Facebook page, Messi said: “We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about the news, because we have never committed any infringement.

“We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.”

Messi played for his national team in Quito on Tuesday, where Argentina drew 1-1 with Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier – a match in which Javier Mascherano was sent off for kicking the driver of a medical buggy.

Alejandro Sabella, the Argentina coach, said Messi is expected to play in a friendly against Guatemala on Friday.

Asad Haroon
Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human :) Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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