Spanish tax authorities have accused Lionel Messi and his father of tax fraud over a four-year period totaling €4 million. The fraud allegedly began when Messi, who is now one of the highest paid athletes in the world, was still underage and had his father in charge of his finances. But Messi took to his Facebook page, with its 46 million "likes," to deny any wrongdoing from either him or his father.
From the Guardian:
A complex network of companies based in Britain, Switzerland, Belize and Uruguay were allegedly used to keep his income out of the sight of tax authorities.
"The initiative to commit fraud came from his father," tax authorities said, according to Spain's EFE news agency.
Tax prosecutors have lodged a writ at a court in Gava, the Mediterranean beachside town outside Barcelona where Messi lives.
The court has yet to decide whether it will open a case against the man who has been Fifa's world player of the year for a record-breaking four seasons in a row.
According to the EFE, Messi could face between two and six years in jail and a fine six times the amount defrauded if the charges are brought against him.
But, Messi is denying any wrongdoing and he's using social media to spread the word. From his Facebook page:
We communicate “We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about those news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.”
His tax consultants? Cristiano Ronaldo & Associates.
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