Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Spain prosecutors ask Messi be absolved in fraud trial

03 June 2016, 18:07

Barcelona - Spanish prosecutors called on Friday for Lionel Messi to be absolved and his father found guilty on the final day of the pair's high-profile tax fraud trial in Barcelona.

The Argentina star and his father Jorge Horacio Messi have been accused of using companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros ($4.6 million) of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.

Barcelona forward Messi's defence lawyers want both the five-time World Player of the Year and his father to be absolved.

Also read: FIFA headquarters searched, documents seized - prosecution

But the state attorney, who in Spain intervenes in trials in parallel with prosecutors when the interests of a public organisation have been impacted, in this case the tax authorities, wants both sentenced.

"Lionel Andres Messi must be absolved," Prosecutor Raquel Amado said in her closing argument, a day after the footballer took the stand and said he trusted his father with his finances and "knew nothing" about how his wealth was managed.

"There is no evidence that anyone explained anything to him."

But she maintained her accusation against his father, for whom she asked for a jail sentence of one-and-a-half years.

Any such sentence would likely be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences carrying a sentence of less than two years.

"It's because Jorge Messi accepted it that this happened," she said.

The income related to Messi's image rights that was allegedly hidden includes endorsement deals with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company.

"These contracts are in English, most certainly bulky," Amado argued.

"For a layperson, if they see so many lawyers signing it, they must believe that it's fine."

The companies in Uruguay, which much of the probe centres on, were created and managed by a Barcelona law firm with whom Messi's dad communicated.

"Mr. Jorge Messi cannot dodge his responsibility by accusing his advisors," she said.

"Fraud takes place because there is a decision in that direction."

Messi and his father did not attend the fourth and final day of the trial, in which defence lawyers and the state attorney have yet to make their closing arguments.

The player had been due to jet off to the United States after his Thursday court appearance for the Copa America where Argentina take on defending champions Chile on Monday.

No date has been set for when the court will issue its ruling.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...