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Lionel Messi: Barcelona superstar given 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been handed a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud, BBC News cites Spanish media as reporting.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been found guilty of using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

According to BBC News, Messi pulled a Harry Redknapp and said that he “knew nothing” about his financial affairs during the trial.

His father, Jorge, is also implicated in the scandal was also given a jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1m (£3.2m) between 2007 and 2009.

The Argentine footballer will not spend any time behind bars because prison sentences of less than two years in Spain can be served under probation.

Messi will though have to pay a fine of £1.7m, and his father £1.25m. According to talkSPORT, the 29-year-old earns £17.06m a year at Barcelona.

The verdict of three counts of tax fraud delivered on Wednesday can be appealed, but Messi will probably just want to pay up and put this behind him.

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