Lionel Messi tax fraud case: Barcelona player will not stand trial over allegations

Authorities are persuing a case against the player's father, Jorge Messi

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Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi was initially charged with tax fraud but will not stand trial for the allegations, according to Spanish news reports.

However, according to AS, prosecutors will pursue a case against the player's father, Jorge Messi, who could face up to 18 months in prison and a €2m fine.

The pair were both accused of witholding €4.1m (£3m) from Spanish tax authorities between 2007 and 2009 through a

complex network of offshore companies based in Belize and Uruguay.

Messi's lawyers defended their client on the basis that he had "never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing" the arrangements and had no knowledge of any incriminating financial scheme.

The allegations were in relation to image rights income, which were managed in part by the player's father.

In June, the high court in Barcelona ruled that Messi would not be granted impunity for not knowing how his image rights were managed. However, it now seems unlkely that he will stand trial.

“It has not been proven that his lack of knowledge was deliberate or was done with the aim of defrauding the public purse”, the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

The player is likely to still appear in court as a witness.

Messi and his father made a voluntary 'corrective payment' of €5m (3.69m), equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013.

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