Messi, father to stand trial for tax fraud in Spain

Barcelona, Jan 20 (IANS) Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi as well as his father Jorge Horacio Messi are to stand trial before the national court of Barcelona on May 31 over charges of committing three offences of tax fraud against the Spanish treasury.

The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia confirmed on Wednesday that the trial will take place from May 31 to June 3, reports Efe.

The Catalonian prosecution asked for the exoneration of FC Barcelona star Messi from the charges, while it requested that the player’s father serve 18 months in prison for defrauding 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million), based on the fact that Messi was not aware of the fiscal offences.

However, Messi must still attend court because the state’s general prosecution maintains the three charges against the Argentine player, and demands that Messi and his father are imprisoned for 22 months.

Furthermore, Jorge Messi confirmed that he is fully responsible for managing his son’s financial affairs, but the judge decided to uphold Messi’s status as a defendant, which was then endorsed by the court of Barcelona.

The trial will be held just three days after the final of the 2015-2016 Champions League, which is to be held on May 28 in Milan, Italy, and will end also just three days before Messi features with the Argentina national team at the Centennial Copa America, which is to be hosted by the United States.

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