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Messi’s tax trial resumes today!

Lionel Messi goes on trial in Barcelona today for allegedly defrauding Spain of more than £3m in unpaid taxes.
After winning a league and cup double with Barcelona, the five-time World Player of the Year and his father will confront in court the accusations that have dogged him since June 2013.
The trial will run until June 2 – the day when Messi is due to testify along with his father.
The court appearance comes just days before he joins his Argentina teammates for the Copa America in the United States.
Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, are accused of using a chain of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on £3.2m of Messi’s income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007 to 2009.
The two have already paid £3.8m to the tax authorities as a “corrective” measure after they were formally charged in June 2013.
They are charged with three counts of tax fraud. Spanish prosecutors are seeking a jail sentence of 22-and-a half months for Messi and his father if they are found guilty, plus fines equivalent to the amount that was allegedly defrauded.
But any such sentence would likely be suspended as it is common in Spain for first offences carrying a sentence of less than two years.
Under Spanish law, a defendant is not obliged to attend the full trial if prosecutors seek a jail sentence of less than two years, which means Messi may only show up on June 2 for his testimony.
The football star and his defence team have argued that the player’s father handled his finances without reporting to him, and that the striker was not aware of any wrongdoing. “My dad handled the cash,” Messi said in September 2013 when he was questioned by a judge investigating the case at a court in Gava, a town on the outskirts of Barcelona where the footballer lives.
The player’s father agreed. “He has nothing to do (with these issues), he only plays football,” Jorge Horacio Messi said.
Questions over the player’s finances increased after Messi and his father were among those named in April in reports by international media who received a vast trove of data and documents leaked from a law firm based in Panama.

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