Fraud charges against the children's charity foundation The Leo Messi Foundation have been reopened by a court in Madrid.
In 2017, reports claimed the charity has ‘created a framework to hide millions of euros of income generated from sponsors that has not been declared’ which meant that its spend on intended children’s social projects could not be verified.
The reports accused the foundation of ‘masking a large part of its income’ and claims over €10m has not been declared to the Spanish and Argentine governments.
It is reported that income from Non-govermental Organisations (NGO’s) registered in both Barcelona and Rosario – Messi’s home city in Argentina – had not been declared.
ESPN outlines how Federico Rettori, a former employee of Messi's foundation, had accused it of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering – claims which had been dismissed in September due to lack of evidence.
Rettori alleged that Messi's foundation diverted funds into private activities rather than the social causes it was designed for, but the original account had been dismissed as being based primarily on press stories.
In October 2018, Messi lost a court case against Spanish newspaper ABC – who printed the original claims – as he had been claiming €202,786 in compensation.