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Messi avoids prison after he chooses to pay £221,000 fine in tax fraud case

Date Posted,July 7, 2017

Lionel Messi will not go to prison despite being found guilty of tax fraud.

The Barcelona star, who has been on probation since he and his father Jorge were found guilty of three counts of defrauding the Spanish tax authority in July 2016, will instead pay an increased fine.

Payment of the fine will see the remainder of Messi’s sentence scrapped, meaning there is no chance of the already unlikely possibility that he could have spent time behind bars.

Messi and his father were found guilty of defrauding the tax man out of £3.59million by hiding earnings from image rights in offshore accounts in both Uruguay and Belize from 2007 to 2009.

Lionel Messi will not be spending any time in prison (Image: Getty Images Europe)
Messi and his father were found guilty of defrauding the Spanish tax authority in July 2016 (Image: Getty Images Europe)

The Argentina international and five-time Ballon d’Or winner was given a 21-month prison sentence in 2016, but didn’t face jail time.

Spanish law dictates that first-time offenders are given suspended sentences – meaning they can serve it under probation – if the term is under two years.

The Barcelona forward will pay a fine of £221,000 (Image: EFE/EPA/Mariscal)

Messi attempted to appeal against the sentence in May, but failed. His father on the other hand had his sentence reduced to 15 months.

The 30-year-old will now pay £221,000 while Jorge will pay £160,000.

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