Barcelona and Argentinian football star, Lionel Messi, will cough up a cool €33 million to the Spanish tax authorities after legal proceedings were brought against him by the Hacienda in Spain for non-payment of tax between 2007 and 2009, as reported by the Marca.
The Spanish authorities noticed irregularities during this period relating to financial gains through the image-rights of the player that appeared to be siphoned off into a series of tax havens.
Under Spanish law, Messi, who resides in Spain, has to declare his worldwide earnings to the authorities, all of which are taxable earnings in Spain.
MESSI TO PAY ALMOST €33 MILLION
Original proceedings were opened up against him for the sum of €4.1 million which the star has already paid off, including the interest.
Messi's representatives have now made an additional declaration for 2010, 2011 and 2012 after realising that the authorities now have a firm understanding of the footballer's financial affairs.
FOUR YEARS TO PAY
Messi will have to sign an agreement with the Hacienda to repay a further €25 million before 2018.
This doesn't include fine for the outstanding €4.1 million from the original case which is expected top be approximately €2.7 million, brining the total amount he would have to pay the authorities €32.9 million!
The judge residing over the case has acquitted the former World Player of the Year from all criminal charges relating to the case due to satisfactory evidence presented by his legal team that he was unaware of what his advisors were doing.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
There is however a further international investigation led by the, Spanish Guardia Civil's Central Operations Unit, which has a particular focus into the affairs of the Leo Messi Foundation and a number of vast payments that were made into a series of accounts nestled away in various tax havens around the world.
It is thought that Messi has nothing to do with the skulduggery and was completely oblivious to what was going on.
The criminal investigation is reported to span several countries, including China and a number of offshore tax havens.
A number of companies on the island of Curacao, Hong Kong and Panama, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Spain and the United States also form part of this potentially damaging investigation.
MESSI ONE OF THE GREATEST PLAYERS BUT NOT WHEN IT COMES TO TAX
Investigating officers want to question Argentinean national, Guillermo Marin, a friend of the footballers father that was involved in arranging a series of charity football matches and allegedly received five transfers amounting to millions of Euros that were hidden from the tax authorities.
The belief the authorities is that considering the nature of the fundraising events, and where they were arranged, that the parties involved are operating as a dubious front.