Messi makes 'closed-court' appearance over tax fraud claims | sports | Hindustan Times
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Messi makes 'closed-court' appearance over tax fraud claims

sports Updated: Sep 28, 2013 17:09 IST

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Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has appeared in court to answer charges of evading 4.16 million euros ($5 million) in taxes in a case that stunned the sporting world.

He reportedly made an appearance in a Spanish court in a closed session to answer allegations of tax fraud against him and his father.

The four-time FIFA Player of the Year and his father Jorge Messi are accused of defrauding the Spanish authorities of more than four million euros.

According to the BBC, both Messi and his father were questioned separately at the court near Barcelona, although both of them have insisted on their innocence.

The spokesman for the state prosecutor's office said that no agreement had been reached with the two men and their lawyers, although the defence pinned the blame on Messi's father while insisting on the Argentine international's innocence.

The report mentioned that Messi Senior made a payment of five million euros to the tax authorities, which included the 4.16 million euros of the alleged unpaid tax plus interest.

Messi and his father are reportedly alleged of using companies abroad in Belize and Uruguay to sell the rights to use Messi's image, thereby circumventing tax obligations in Spain

The income related to Messi's image rights included contracts with Banco Sabadell, Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, and the Kuwait Food Company, the report added.