Lionel Messi could face prison over tax fraud charges

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Lionel Messi has barely started his rehabilitation following a serious knee injury suffered last month, but now the Barcelona stalwart is having to digest something potentially more damaging to his career.

The Argentinian and his father, Jorge, have been told they will stand trial on three counts of tax fraud that could carry a prison sentence of 22 months if they are found guilty.

Prosecutors had originally moved to drop the case against Messi as they believed the four-time Ballon d'Or winner was unaware of what his father was doing.


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Instead, they were seeking an 18-month prison term for Jorge and a fine amounting to half of what is alleged to have been defrauded.

However, lawyers acting on behalf of the Spanish tax authority pleaded for both Messi and his father to be tried and have also asked for both of them to serve 22-month prison sentences.

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"There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties," said the judge, according to the Telegraph.

Suspended sentence

Regardless of the outcome, Messi is very unlikely to face a prison sentence as terms under two years are usually suspended for first-time offenders in Spain.

However, the case is likely to add to the stress that comes with coming back from knee ligament damage. Only today Messi posted a photo on Facebook claiming his recovery is well on track.

If he continues to recover, and avoids prison, Messi could be back in time to face Real Madrid in the first El Clasico of the season on November 22.

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Lionel Messi
La Liga

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