Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Messi have appeared in court today to answer charges of tax evasion.
The 26-year-old and his father face charges of defrauding the state out of just over €4m in tax not paid on the sale of image rights to third parties between 2007 and 2009.
Whilst the duo have since paid €5m to resolve the money owed and a further €10m on possible shortfalls in the accounts from 2010 to 2012, they have still seen the court case proceed.
Neither Messi nor his father offered comment upon arriving and exiting the court in Gava, Barcelona on Friday, though the player reportedly signed autographs both in and out of the court.
Reports in Spain suggest that both Messis affirmed to the judge today that the Barca player was not involved in the management of his image rights and handling tax payments.
Furthermore, Jorge Messi presented a note to the judge exonerating his son’s involvement, blaming the alleged offences on business partners entrusted with handling financial arrangements.
“The Messi family has always wanted to act with transparency, clarity and with a spirit of collaboration, which was the case today,” the duo’s lawyer Cristobal Martell told reporters outside.