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SBD Global/July 29, 2014/Finance

Spanish Judge Orders Tax Evasion Case Against Lionel Messi To Go Ahead

A Spanish judge has "rejected a recommendation from the state prosecutor that accusations of tax fraud against Lionel Messi be dismissed," according to the EFE. A lawsuit was filed against Messi and his father, Jorge, in June '13 for "allegedly defrauding Spain's tax authorities" of more than €4M from '07-09. However, a prosecutor last month "moved to have the case against Messi dropped and upheld only against his father," arguing that Messi Sr. was "reponsible for the family's finances." The presiding judge of the court in Gavà, in the province of Barcelona, said in a statement that "sufficient evidence" exists that the footballer "could have known about and consented to the creation and upkeep of a fictitious business structure, whose only purpose was to evade compliance with those tax obligations arising from the income generated by the exploitation of his image rights." The judge's verdict sees Messi "remain an official suspect in the case, and gives the prosecutor's office and the legal representative of the state" 10 days to request to open or stay proceedings (EFE, 7/28).
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