Argentina's Lionel Messi investigated for tax fraud in Spain
June 13 , 2013
Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi and his father are being investigated in Spain following allegations of defrauding the state of more than $5.3 million.
The 25-year-old Argentina and Barcelona forward and his father, Jorge Horacio, are suspected of filing fraudulent tax returns for 2007-09, according to officials on Wednesday.
Messi has denied the allegations, writing on his Facebook page: "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 net annual salary at Barcelona is reported to be $21 million, in addition to several global multimillion-dollar endorsements.
If convicted, Messi could face up to six years in prison and a hefty fine.
Messi, who hails from a humble background, joined Barcelona at the age of 13. He went on to make his first team debut three years later.
Last year, Messi scored a record 91 goals for both club and country.
Many view the four-time World Player of the Year as one of the sport’s most prolific players.