Messi appears in court in Barcelona, says he knows nothing about tax fraud

Messi appears in court in Barcelona, says he knows nothing about tax fraud
# 03 June 2016 00:31 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. FC Barcelona's player Lionel Messi appeared in court here on Thursday along with his father to testify about an alleged tax evasion of 4.1 million euros (4.57 million U.S. dollars), APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Messi said he knew nothing about the tax evasion telling that he trusted his father and those chosen to manage his issues.

"The truth is that I knew nothing. As my father explained, I was devoted to playing football, I trusted my father, I trusted the lawyers he had chosen to run things," he said, adding that he knew nothing about tax evasion and "was honestly never interested in that."

Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, are accused by the Spanish tax office of defrauding 4.1 million euros from 2007 to 2009.

The case focuses on signed contracts related to the player image rights and shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Britain and Switzerland which would have been allegedly used to evade taxes.

Messi said he had signed the contracts but he had no knowledge about defrauding the Spanish state, while his father said the same, admitting to have signed the contracts but knowing nothing about tax evasion.

Messi could face up to 22 months in jail if found guilty and his father 18 months, although according to the Spanish law those without criminal records and a sentence of under two years do not serve time in jail.

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