Madrid - A court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud and slapped them with a fine of 3.7 million euros ($4.1 million).
But these prison sentences are likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.
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Messi and his father, Jorge were found to had evaded tax on Lionel's image rights.
Prosecutors had alleged that tax havens in Belize and Uruguay were used to conceal earnings from his image rights, with Lionel denying that he had any knowledge of the dealings as his father handled his finances.
Messi's name was also linked to the recent Panama Papers leaks where a series of documents detailing how prominent figures and celebrities used shell companies to conceal vast fortunes.