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Messi’s Messy Tax Issues
Posted on June 21st, 2016 in General Interest

Messi’s Messy Tax Issues

 As proven by the recent Panama-Paper leaks, the US does not have anything on the rest of the world when it comes to tax fraud and money laundering.

The newest person charged with tax evasion is Lionel Messi, a famous soccer player playing for the Barcelona and Argentina soccer teams. According to prosecutors, Lionel Messi and his father evaded 4 million euros (approximately 5.4 million US dollars) during the periods 2007 to 2009.  The prosecutor alleges that the soccer star setup shell companies in Belize, Switzerland, Uruguay and the UK to funnel his image rights related money to avoid paying Spanish taxes. Messi and his father have both pleaded not guilty to the charges in a court hearing in early June.

Messi stated, “The truth is that I know nothing…I trust my father, I trust the lawyers he had chosen to run things and I had no idea about anything”. But, this is not the first time Messi and his father have had issues with the Spanish tax authorities. In 2013 Messi paid 5 million euros (approximately 6.75 million US dollars) to settle a tax investigation.

The soccer player is 10th on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes with estimated earning of over 350 million dollars (USD) during the past decade. You may wonder why he has to even try to evade taxes. We wonder that too.

The Spanish prosecutor is seeking a 22-month prison sentence and payment of the evaded taxes for the soccer player and his father. Let’s wait and see how this court case goes?

About the Author – Ashley Burdette, CPA is the Managing Director of Zagotti and Burdette CPA, LLC. She can be reached at ABurdette@znbcpa.com or (832) 800-3347. 


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