“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.
There is no silver lining to this story, and Spain is not allowing wealth to uphold impunity. Lionel Messi, one of the top paid athletes in the world, 28-year old FC Barcelona forward, will stand trial with his father, Jorge, for intentionally not paying taxes from endorsement earnings (defrauding Spain) from 2007-2009 amounting to about $5 million dollars. The judge in the case rejected requests from prosecutors to drop the charges on the star soccer/futbal player and his father, and they will have to stand trial with no date set yet. Lawyers from the tax authority are lobbying for a 22-month sentence for both Lionel and his father; they are denying any knowledge of wrongdoing and intentional fraud.
Parties that Messi (reportedly) hid earnings from and has endorsement contracts with include: Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company. These companies will be in the hot seat divided to disclose their financial information and aid the prosecutors from the tax authority.
Supposedly, Lionel’s father hid money in offshore accounts during the reported time period. What raises suspicion in this case is the fact that Lionel and his father voluntarily made a “corrective payment” for the $5 Million dollars or €5m for the unpaid taxes plus interest in August 2013. The issue with the “corrective payment” should be if it was genuine? Did Lionel and his father immediately know they were going to get in trouble, and make the voluntary payment at that time, or were they genuinely trying to make a wrong right?
It is a shame to make an example out of such a great athlete and role model when you have so many rich people with connections that get away with murder literally. Conversely, my biggest issue with this scenario (against Messi) is why even mess with the tax bureau in the first place? Messi earned 20 Million EUR (€) in 2014 alone. What do you think?
*Some information and “corrective payment” terminology courtesy bbc*