Soccer star Leo Messi, who is the subject of an investigation into alleged financial fraud, has paid an additional 10 million euros to the Spanish tax agency in recent days.
The Barcelona player has presented supplementary income tax declarations for the years 2010 and 2011, according to La Vanguardia newspaper. The complaint filed against Messi for defrauding Spanish tax authorities of 4.1 million euros relates to the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
According to the public prosecutor, Messi failed to declare the huge earnings he made for ceding his image rights for use in marketing and advertising campaigns. His father, Jorge Horacio Messi, may have created a scheme that made it look like he was handing over the rights to companies in tax havens. The player could face up to four years in prison for each of the counts he faces.
The additional payment of 10 million euros could be understood in the context of the announcement by Messi’s lawyers after the complaint was admitted on June 20. They spoke of a “difference of opinions” over the amount to be paid for the player’s image rights and said their client would “pay the amounts that are finally determined.”
One way out for Messi is to pay the allegedly defrauded money, as well as an additional fine of up to 24.6 million euros. In exchange, the public prosecutor would lower the punishment for which it is asking and could be willing to reach a settlement that would spare the Argentinean star from a trial.