Lionel Messi says he knew nothing about tax fraud
Updated: 2016-06-03 04:34
Barcelona's Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi sits in court with his father Jorge Horacio Messi during their trial for tax fraud in Barcelona, Spain, June 2, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
"I DIDN'T KNOW"
Jorge Horacio Messi admitted to signing contracts presented to him by his adviser, but said neither he nor his son knew they were avoiding paying tax on them.
"The only thing I told him was that his image rights were protected by a company," he said in court.
Asked if he had told Lionel that he was going to avoid paying tax in Spain, he said: "No because I didn't know that either."
Messi and his father paid five million euros to the tax authorities as a "corrective" measure after being formally investigated in June 2013.
The footballer is 10th on Forbes Magazine's list of the world's highest-earning athletes over the past decade, with an estimated income of $350 million during this period.
The trial is due to end on Friday but Messi and his father will not attend the final day. It is not yet clear when a verdict will be delivered.
Messi, who has scored 453 goals in 531 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, has won eight La Liga titles, four King's Cups and four Champions League crowns.
He is also captain of Argentina and was due to rejoin the team immediately after his court appearance to prepare for the Copa America in the USA, playing their first game against holders Chile on June 7. ($1 = 0.8971 euros)
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