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Five players who were involved in tax scandals before Messi

In the wake of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi’s 21-month prison sentence, here are five other high-profile athletes who were involved in tax scandals.

football Updated: Jul 06, 2016 17:34 IST
HT Correspondent
Former boxing champion Mike Tyson.
Former boxing champion Mike Tyson. (AFP)

Mike Tyson

The youngest heavyweight champion famously struggled with finances, and declared bankruptcy in 2005, stating that he was $23million (R155cr) in debt. After appearances in ‘The Hangover’ and Mike Tyson the undisputed truth, Tyson wrote a hefty cheque to the IRS in turn 2014, who in turn forgave him of $2mn tax debt.

Neymar

Neymar failed to report earnings from Nike, Santos and Barcelona. (REUTERS)

Earlier this year, the Barcelona star was found guilty of tax fraud for failure to report earnings from his contracts with Santos, Barcelona, and Nike. The Brazilian authorities blocked $50mn worth assets (including a yacht and a jet) and a federal court in Rio de Janeiro ordered him to pay 188.8 million Brazilian reals (R351cr) in fines and back-taxes.

Boris Becker

Tennis legend Boris Becker was sentenced to two years of probation for failing to pay 1.7m Euros in taxes. (PTI)

In 2002, the six-time Grand Slam winner was sentenced to two years of probation for failing to pay 1.7 million euros in taxes between 1991 and 1993. Becker paid more than 3 mn euros (R22cr) for taxes and owed interest.

Steffi Graf

Former tennis player Steffi Graf was accused of tax evasion worth $7.4m. (AP)

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was accused of tax evasion worth $7.4 million (R49cr) between 1989 and 1993. Graf stated that her father Peter was her financial manager, and matters relating to her earnings at the time had been under his control. Peter was sentenced to 45 months in jail in 1997 and was released after serving 25 months. Graf paid a fine of 1.3 million Deutsche Marks.

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao’s bank accounts were frozen in 2013 after accusations of tax evasion worth ovver $50m. (AP)

The boxer-turned politician’s bank accounts were frozen in 2013 after accusations of tax evasion worth over $50 million (R337cr). The US Federal Government also claimed that Manny owed over $18 million (R121cr) in taxes from 2006 to 2010. However, the boxer emerged as the Philippine’s top tax-payer after paying Ph pesos163.83 million (R23.4cr) in 2013, and got further relief after the Supreme Court’s intervention earlier this year.