In a major jolt for Barcelona and Argentina star, the Spanish Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Lionel Messi’s appeal in the tax fraud case. According to a report published by The Daily Mail, one of the best footballers to take to the field and his father lost the appeal against a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud. He was found guilty by a Barcelona court last July on three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009, resulting in a suspended 21-month prison sentence and fine of €2million (£1.75m).
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Messi’s father Jorge who was found guilty in the same case, was given the same sentence and was ordered to pay a fine of €1.5m (£1.3m). The report claimed that Messi’s father used companies in countries such as Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize to reduce tax on the player’s income. However, his father later stated that he was told by legal adviser that the practice was legal. Barcelona, the Spanish club which Messi has been representing since he was a teenager, had issued a statement lending its support to its star player and his father.
Throughout the ongoing process, Messi maintained that he has done nothing wrong after putting his trust in others, while his father placed the blame at the feet of their tax advisers. The 29-year-old footballer who has won Ballon D’Or for a record five times, is considered one of the best footballers of all-time. He has scored over 500 goals for club and country. Last year, Messi decided to retire from international football after Argentina failed to win Copa Del Rey in Chile. Following a massive campaign by fans demanding Messi’s return, the footballer made a comeback, months after announcing his retirement.