Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a statement from the court said on Wednesday.
The court also sentenced Messi’s father, Jorge, to 21 months in prison for the same charges. The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, the statement added.
However, under Spanish law a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation, meaning Messi and his father are unlikely to go to jail.
Lionel Messi is so good he can even avoid prison … #UnbelievableJeff
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) 6 July 2016
The court also ordered Messi to pay a fine of around 2 million euros ($2.21 million) and his father to pay 1.5 million euros for the crimes.
Messi maintained that he knew nothing about an alleged tax evasion scheme when he signed contracts related to image rights. Lionel and Jorge Horacio Messi were accused by the Spanish tax office of defrauding the government of 4.2 million euros ($4.7 million) between 2007 and 2009.
(Inputs from Reuters)