Lionel Messi to face trial over 4.1 million euros tax fraud

Barcelona star and his father facing charges

Messi to Face Trial Over 4.1 Million Euros Tax Fraud

Barcelona superstar footballer Lionel Messi will face trial over a 4.1 million euros (£3.1m) tax fraud as ruled by a Barcelona court on Wednesday.

The father of the forward, Jorge Messi, is also allegedly involved in the fraud, which took place between 2007 and 2009, and will also face trial. The pair deny the charges.

Less than a week after lifting the Champions League trophy with the Spanish giants, the football star from Argentina is back in the spotlight.

The court in Barcelona ruled that the 28-year-old will have to appear in the dock over the allegations, and should not be granted impunity for claiming to not know what was happening with his finances.

Image rights sold to overseas companies

According to the Catalan prosecutor, both men sold the player's image rights through companies in Belize and Uruguay, avoiding tax obligations in Spain.

The income related to contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company.

The striker had already paid a lump sum of 5 million euros to the Spanish tax office, equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013.

It is unlikely the four-time World Player of the Year will be playing football in the prison yard at some point in the future, but tax fraud in Spain is punishable by up to five years in jail, depending on the amount and the will to avoid the taxes.

There is no exact date as yet for the trial.