The ongoing tax saga of soccer star Lionel Messi will continue. That news comes after a judge in Spain ruled that the Barcelona FC star would indeed have to stand trial for tax fraud charges in association with his many endorsement deals with foreign companies. The news comes just days after a report stated that Mr. Messi would not have to go to trial, and that only his father would face the courtroom.
Not So Fast
However, the Spanish judge ruled otherwise and said that Mr. Messi and his father should both have to go to trial. Even though his lawyers argued that Mr. Messi did not have any hands-on dealings with his endorsement contracts, the judge ruled that he “couldn’t have ignored” that a large part of his revenue was coming from foreign companies. If he is convicted, the soccer star could receive a sentence for as long as 22 months.
No Jail Time Likely
However, the good news for Mr. Messi is that even if he is found guilty of the charges he will most likely not spend any time behind bars. That’s because sentences for financial crimes shorter than two years are typically suspended according to Spanish law. In addition, Mr. Messi and his father have reportedly either already paid, or have agreed to pay, the missing tax money, plus interest.