Messi and dad to appeal against tax fraud sentences
AFTER a court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, the footballer vowed to appeal the sentence and clear his name.
The prison sentences are likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.
The Argentine's lawyers feel an appeal would eventually succeed in persuading the court that Messi and his father have behaved correctly, the player's representatives told Agence France-Presse.
The Barcelona court found the Argentina international and his father Jorge Horacio guilty of using companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros (S$6.2 million) of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.
The court found Messi and his father, who has managed his son's affairs since he was a child, guilty of tax fraud.
It ruled that for each of those three years, they should serve a sentence of seven months.
They can appeal the decision to Spain's Supreme Court and that is what the pair's lawyers indicated on Wednesday they would do, saying they felt confident that an appeal would succeed.