FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father sentenced to 21-month imprisonment on tax evasion charges, fined €2 million for three tax crimes, while his father is fined around €1.5 million.
Soccer star Lionel Messi has been sentenced by a court in Spain to 21 months in prison on tax-fraud charges, though the FC Barcelona attacker is unlikely to see the inside of a jail cell.
The court Wednesday found Mr. Messi and his father, Jorge Messi, guilty of using shell companies in Belize, Uruguay, the U.K. and Switzerland to avoid paying €4.16 million ($4.63 million) in taxes on endorsement income the player earned between 2007 and 2009.
The sentence by the Barcelona court is subject to appeal. In Spain, sentences of under two years don’t generally result in prison time being served.
After prosecutors opened the investigation, the two men paid back the tax they were accused of evading plus interest. But the court on Wednesday also fined Mr. Messi about €2 million and his father €1.6 million.
video: Times now