Messi lawyers deny tax fraud claims
Lionel Messi lawyers deny allegations of tax fraud
The lawyers of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi have denied allegations of tax evasion by their client after the Argentina international received court summons from the Spanish tax authorities.
Messi and his father Jorge Messi are alleged of filing fraudulent tax returns for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, and have been summoned to appear in court in September after the prosecutor filed a complaint last week.
The 25-year-old is accused of avoiding paying up to €4 million in tax by forwarding his image rights money to offshore accounts, and he must now appear in front of a judge in the Gava courthouse - based in the are of Barcelona he lives.
Messi's lawyers, however, claim the Camp Nou icon is innocent of the accusations against him and are determined to clear his name as soon as they are given the opportunity to do so.
"We firmly believe the innocence of our client. He complies scrupulously with Spanish legislation. He has paid what corresponds to him legally," a statement from Juarez Veciana Lawyers read.
"We are confident the judicial investigation will be resolved in the minimum time possible [to end] this situation which has left our client in a situation of media defencelessness which we deeply regret."
Messi and his father face a maximum penalty of six years in prison if they are found guilty of the offences for which they have been summoned.