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Messi tax fraud charges dropped

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Lionel Messi has seen charges of tax evasion against him dropped as prosecutors in Catalunya instead seek 18 months’ imprisonment for his father, Jorge Messi.

The Barcelona star had been accused of avoiding €4.1 million in tax obligations from 2007 to 2009, related to payments on image rights.

But Spanish authorities opted to get rid of the charges against him, marking his father as the sole person responsible for the alleged fraudulent acts.

“It is not plausible to think that his unawareness of events was intentional, or carried out seeking to defraud the Public Treasury,” the prosecutor’s ruling explained.

As such, the office deemed that, given Messi’s age and close links with his father, it was Jorge who looked after the player’s business interests and “control of tax obligations”.

Messi could, however, be called upon to testify in the case against Jorge, who has acted as his son’s agent throughout his professional career.

As well as a possible custodial sentence, Messi Sr could face a fine of €2m if found guilty on the charges.