MADRID: Leo Messi has received further good news after his match-winning display for Argentina at the World Cup finals against Bosnia on Sunday: the Spanish prosecutor’s office has asked a judge to dismiss charges against him for alleged tax evasion.
The former World Player of the Year and his father Jorge were accused last year of defrauding the revenue office of more than €4m from Messi’s image rights by filing false returns for the years 2006 to 2009. They have denied any wrongdoing.
Messi’s father has already assumed full responsibility for his son’s tax situation and the pair made a “corrective payment” of €5m to Spanish authorities last September.
Prosecutor Raquel Amado stated: “It is clear that Lionel A. Messi did not participate in the decisions on the management and destiny of his income nor was he aware of the reach, dimension, purpose or impact of the structure of the holding (to avoid taxes),”
Messi, one of the world’s highest-paid athletes, earns just over $40 million a season in salary and bonuses, according to Forbes magazine, as well as about $23 million from sponsors.
The magazine has him as the fourth top-earning athlete behind boxer Floyd Mayweather, Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball player LeBron James.