Lionel Messi’s appeal rejected, Barcelona star could face trial over tax fraud

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Lionel Messi’s appeal against charges of tax evasion have again been rejected as the Barcelona and Argentina superstar is one step closer to a court hearing.

[ RELATED: Messi “calm” despite tax case ]

The four-time World Player of the Year had his appeal rejected by the Spanish high court, as Messi and his father Jorge are accused of defrauding the Spanish authorities of over $5 million. Back in October 2014 a similar appeal was also rejected as prosecutors refused to drop the charges against Messi even though his father was solely responsible for sorting out his finances.

Messi and his father have both denied the charges and have already made a $5 million “corrective payment” in 2013 for the interest gathered. The duo are alleged to have withheld the money between 2007 and 2009 from the Spanish government. It is believed that Messi and his father used companies in Belize and Uruguay to sell his image rights to avoid paying tax on them in Spain.

The Barcelona star has endorsements with a number of global companies including Adidas, Pepsi-Cola and Procter and Gamble, but he claims to have not had any dealings when it comes to signing any contracts.

Ahead of the 2015 Copa America tournament and just after winning his fourth Champions League title as a Barcelona player last Saturday, this news will be extremely worrying to Messi and his family as a high-court trial could be on the horizon.