Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, despite his superstar status, wasn’t able to avoid tax evasion charges, as a Spanish judge ruled against the Argentine’s appeal to drop the charges against him and direct them toward his father, Jorge.
Both men are accused of withholding $5 million from authorities and supposedly, the money was retained between 2007 and 2009. The Messi’s are suspected of avoiding Spanish tax through companies in Belize and Uruguay to sell the rights to use Messi’s image, while contracts with Banco Sabadell, Procter and Gamble, Danone, Pepsi-Cola, Adidas, and the Kuwait Food Company have the 27-year-old Messi rolling in endorsement payment.
The duo has five days to appeal the decision.
“In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity, rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them,” the judge said, according to the Associated Press.
At the same time, Barcelona will have to deal with a lawsuit from a Madrid court that says the La Liga giant tampered with their funds to swing the signing of Neymar from Brazilian club Santos in May 2013.