Lionel Messi unlikely to go to jail in tax-fraud case: Here’s why

Lionel Messi unlikely to go to jail in tax-fraud case: Here’s why

Lionel Messi is unlikely to go to jail, thanks to the Spanish law on prison sentences for less than two years.

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Lionel Messi and his father Jorge lost appeal against their 21-month prison-term for tax-fraud at the Spain Supreme Court. (Source: Reuters)

Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father lost appeals at Spain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday over a 21-month prison sentence in a tax fraud case. However, the Argentina star is unlikely to go to jail.

Fans of the football great can heave a sigh of relief as their star may not go to prison, despite the term. According to Spanish law, jail terms of under two years can be served under probation in cases where there are no prior offenses.

Messi was found guilty by the Barcelona court last July for breaching tax offences of around £3.5 million from 2007 to 2009. He lost the case on Wednesday at the Supreme Court as his sentence remains for 21 months. The case will now go back to the Barcelona court.

Messi’s father Jorge, however, had his jail-term reduced to 15 months because he paid some of the taxes. While the Barcelona star is required to pay a fine of £1.75million, his father will be required to pay £1.3million.


The duo were accused of using shell companies to avoid paying taxes by the Barcelona court.

Messi, who was the leading goal scorer in the Spanish league this season with 27 goals, had said at the court that he was dedicated to his game and did not think at any point that his lawyers would deceive him. “I was dedicated to playing soccer. I trusted my father and the lawyers that we had chosen to deal with our affairs. At no time did I think that they could deceive me.”