In the beginning of the month FC Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi was accused of tax evasion and fraud in Spain. Now the soccer star has willingly paid the equivalent of $13 million to the Spanish authorities in order to avoid tax fraud charges.
Lionel Messi and his father Jorge are due in a Gava court on September 17. Reports are saying the pair is hoping this recent payment will help them avoid court.
The Spanish government has accused Messi, his father and their financial advisers of hiding money in off shore accounts in order to avoid paying taxes.
Since the allegation of tax fraud was first made against Messi the 26-year-old, four time soccer player of the year has denied any wrong doing. However, last week his lawyers announced he would pay any outstanding financial commitments in order to put this behind him.
According to Bloomberg Raquel Amado a Spanish public prosecutor filed a complaint on June 12 saying Messi evaded 4.2 million euros by sending money he earned from endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Danone, and his club, Barcelona through companies in Switzerland and the United Kingdom and then to Uruguay.
It is alleged that Messi hid the money he earned from those companies using his likeness for endorsement during the period between 2007 and 2009. The Hollywood reporter says this scheme was started by Jorge Messi while his son was still a minor and not in charge of his own finances.
Some reports have speculated Messi will still have to pay a fine totaling 24.6 million euros, but will likely avoid a trial since he willingly paid back the 13-million he owed.