A tax evasion case against Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi will move forward, a Spanish judge ruled Monday.
Along with his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, Lionel Messi is being investigated for avoiding payment of as much as $5.3 million in taxes from 2007 to 2009, The Associated Press reported
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Ruling that there was “sufficient evidence” to believe Messi could have known about fraudulent actions taken to cover the lack of tax payments, the judge ordered the Tax Office and the State Prosecutor’s office to either dismiss the case or come up with sufficient evidence to proceed within 10 days, the AP said.
The Guardian reported that a prosecutor on the case had wanted to drop the charges against Messi,
saying that it was Jorge Messi who was responsible for the finances.
But the court declared that even if he didn’t follow the ins and outs of the accounting process, Messi could have known about the intent to defraud.
Shell companies were used to hide income that Messi received from image rights, The Guardian said.
Messi reached a $50 million deal with FC Barcelona for the upcoming season and earned $65 million with endorsements last year, Forbes reported
. He and Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid, rake in the most money of any footballers in the world.
Messi’s Barcelona team was ranked by Forbes as taking the No. 2 spot for world’s most valuable soccer teams, worth an estimated $3.2 billion.
The team came in second to Real Madrid, with an estimated value of $3.44 billion.
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