They asked for Jorge Messi to be handed an 18-month prison sentence and a fine of half the defrauded amount. However, lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities pleaded for the player to also be tried and for both defendants to face a 22-month prison sentence. In any case, both are unlikely to end up in jail as sentences of less than two years are normally suspended for first time offences in Spain.
“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” said the judge.
Messi, 28, is the fourth richest sportsman in the world, according to Forbes magazine which estimates he earns almost $65 million a year. The news is just the latest blow for the Argentine, who will be out of action for six weeks due to knee ligament damage.