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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Football

Messi dodges questions after appearing in court over tax fraud
Reuters
Gava, Spain, September 28, 2013
First Published: 01:50 IST(28/9/2013)
Last Updated: 01:52 IST(28/9/2013)

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father Jorge testified separately in court on Friday to answer charges of tax evasion on income earned from the sale of the player's image rights.

The pair, who have denied wrongdoing, are accused of hiding more than four million euros ($5.39 million) by filing incomplete tax returns for the years 2006 to 2009.

Neither Messi nor his father spoke after their testimony, but their lawyer, Cristóbal Martell, said the two "proved the absence of intent to defraud and their great willingness to set the matter straight with the tax authorities".

They have already made a "corrective payment" to Spanish authorities of just over five million euros.

In a written petition to the judge last August, Martell said Messi's father assumed full responsibility for his son's tax situation, distancing the player from any direct involvement.

The judge will now determine whether or not to dimiss the charges or impose a fine. A spokesperson for the Superior Court said the ruling "should not take long".


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