Barcelona forward Lionel Messi told his trial for tax evasion that he had no knowledge of offshore schemes. ‘I devoted myself to playing football.’
Sport reports Messi’s comments in a court in Barcelona as he faces trial with his father, Jorge Messi, over allegations of more than €4m in unpaid taxes on the player’s image rights.
“I devoted myself to playing football. I was confidant in my father and the lawyers for these issues. I didn’t think they were going to mislead or defraud me. I don’t know anything about these issues, nor have they ever interested me,” Leo Messi said.
“All I knew is that I signed the contracts with sponsors and I knew I had to [do adverts] or have photos taken. I never read anything or asked anything. I remember I went to a notary 10 years ago but I didn’t know what that was. As you can imagine, it was something different. I don’t remember that long ago.”
The state prosecutor has asked for Leo Messi to be sentenced to 22 months in prison if found guilty, though AS notes he wouldn’t face a punishment anything like that as he doesn’t have a criminal record.
Jorge Messi, meanwhile, repeatedly insisted his son had no knowledge of his tax arrangements as he gave evidence on Thursday morning, AS continues.
“I’ve always tried to make my son’s life easier….he didn’t know anything. I told him he had to sign off on something [in 2006], a contract, and we went to a public office,” the elder Messi said.
A verdict is expected next week.