Javier Mascherano has been sentenced to a year in prison for tax fraud.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported the Barcelona player was sentenced after a court hearing on Thursday. He has also been fined €815,000 (£625,000)
for two tax offences.
It is unlikely the Argentina international will serve any jail time. Spanish publication Sport claim that the prosecution are in favour of Mascherano being handed a fine instead after the defender’s lawyer requested the prison sentence be suspended.
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Spanish law dictates that those handed sentences of less than two years are not required to serve their sentence, unless the crime is a violent one.
Mascherano's fine will be around €21,000.
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The sentence comes after it was revealed the 31-year-old failed to declare earnings of €1.5m in 2011 and 2012. Mascherano admitted to being guilty of tax fraud last October.
The former Liverpool and West Ham player appeared to blame his financial advisors in a statement released on Thursday.
He said: “I’m a professional sportsman and I don’t know a lot about legal and financial matters.
“Therefore I must rely on the people that manage these technical, and for me, complicated, issues.
“All my career I have been an honest and responsible person… I will take this experience that has accosted me as another experience which I will leave stronger and calmed by the fact that I am once again within the law."
As reported by the BBC, Mascherano is alleged to have tried to use companies he owns in Portugal and the United States to conceal earnings from his image rights.
He repaid €1.75m - the full amount, plus interest.
Mascherano isn’t the only Barcelona player currently embroiled in a tax scandal. As reported by Sky Sports, Lionel Messi and his father are alleged to have covered up £3.2m in taxes. The court case will start on May 31.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reported that Neymar failed to declare around £10.5m in Brazil taxes between 2011 and 2013.
Has Mascherano embarrassed Barcelona with his actions? Have your say in the comment section below!
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