Still pinning from Barcelona’s Champions League exit and growing whispers of a crisis at the Camp Nou, Lionel Messi may get some reprieve as Spain’s Supreme Court commences a review of his 21-month jail sentence handed last year.
A spokesman for the Supreme Court on Thursday said the case was being examined by five magistrates and could take several days to resolve.
Argentina captain Messi, along with his father, Jorge, was handed the sentence last July after a Spanish court found him guilty of defrauding the taxman over proceeds from his image rights.
Spanish prosecutors successfully argued that the five-time Player of the Year used companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros ($4.5 million) of income earned from 2007-09. I,
Though he’s unlikely to spend any time in jail as is common for first-time offenders, the five-time World Player of the Year lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court protesting his innocence.
However, the court maintained that the 29-year-old maestro “decided to remain in ignorance” about how his finances were managed.
It further noted that if the player was not punished, “ordinary” citizens could conclude that it was better to “not show interest” in their tax obligations.
Messi, who will lead Barcelona in this weekend’s El Clasico against Real Madrid, was also fined €2.09 million and his father 1.6 million in addition to sentence.