12 Jun 2015

Messi loses tax appeal

12:00 pm on 12 June 2015

The Barcelona football star Lionel Messi has lost his appeal over tax fraud charges, meaning he could face a trial over the allegations which involve an estimated $7.2 million.

The Argentinian international and his father Jorge were accused last year of not paying tax on earnings from the player's image rights from 2007-2009.

Lionel Messi shoots against Manchester City.

Lionel Messi shoots against Manchester City. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Both Messi and his father denied wrongdoing and instead pointed the finger instead at a former agent.

But prosecutors in Barcelona have decided to press ahead with the case.

Messi and his father have been accused of using companies in Belize and Uruguay to sell the player's rights - an allegation the player denies.

Jorge has since admitted that his son knew nothing of the alleged fraud, but the appeals court rejected the defence.

Messi and his father made a voluntary 7.8 million dollar "corrective payment", equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013.

Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old in 2000, and made his first-team debut three years later.

He soon became one of the most influential players at the Catalan team, winning Europe's most prestigious club competition - the Champions League - four times.

The four-time World Player of the Year is now considered by many experts to be one of football's best ever players.

Forbes magazine estimated that in 2014 his income was 90 million dollars.

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