Lionel Messi is to stand trial on allegations of tax evasion after the Barcelona forward’s appeal was rejected.
AS reports a judge decided that the Argentina international could have known about and consented to the alleged tax fraud, with his father Jorge Messi also implicated. Jorge Messi acts as his son’s representative and financial manager.
It was argued in the appeal that the player was unaware of any wrongdoing and there was no evidence to connect Messi to the allegations.
Both Lionel and Jorge Messi deny the charges which relate to income tax statements from 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The allegation contends that money made from Messi’s image rights was channelled away from the authorities through a corporate network, AS adds.
“It is a subjective opinion that [Lionel] Messi was at the edge of economic, contractual and tax management of tax revenue,” the judge ruled, even if his father was responsible for managing his affairs.
The judge also dismissed requests for three people to stand as witnesses, including Barca’s director of marketing, Raul Sanllehi, as their statements would not be relevant.