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Lionel Messi to stand trial in Spain for tax fraud, faces 22 months in prison

Things have not broken well for Lionel Messi lately – literally. Between a leg injury that will keep him out for several weeks, Argentina’s Copa America loss and Barcelona’s La Liga struggles in his absence, the king of football has had a bad couple of months. And unfortunately, things are about to get a little bit worse for him.

According to the Telegraph, Messi and his father Jorge are set to stand trial in Spain for multiple counts of tax fraud that have prison sentences attached to them.

The Telegraph reported that Messi and his father have been accused of defrauding the taxman out of over €4 million in taxes through fake companies that were created in South America from 2007 to 2009.

Prosecutors reportedly asked that the charges against Lionel be dropped since Jorge has been the man in charge of the Barcelona star’s finances since he was a child. But the judge granted the request of the tax authorities to send both of the men to trial.

If found guilty, the Messis face up to 22 months in jail.

Regardless of the outcome though, Messi is extremely unlikely to ever see the inside of a jail cell. According to the Telegraph, Spain tends to suspend prison sentences of under two years for first-time offenders.

In 2015, Messi led Barcelona to the La Liga title, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and was named Footballer of the Year by FIFA and ESPN.

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