Messi and father accused of tax fraud

Messi and father accused of tax fraud

A lawsuit against Lionel Messi for fraud in unpaid income tax amounting to 4 million euros (USD 5.3 million) was lodged by a state prosecutor for the northeastern region of Catalonia today.

The complaint, signed by prosecutor Raquel Amado, was submitted for trial at the courthouse in Gava, the upscale Barcelona suburb near the Mediterranean coast where the Argentina forward lives.

The prosecutor brings a lawsuit against Barcelona star Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi.

Both are accused of three offenses against the public purse for allegedly defrauding more than USD 5.3 million in income tax returns relating to the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

A judge at the courthouse must accept the prosecutor's lawsuit before charges can be brought against Messi and his father.

Barcelona declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Messi is enjoying a day off after playing for his national team in Quito, where Argentina was held to 1-1 by Ecuador in a qualifying match for the World Cup.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has said Messi was expected to be included in the lineup for a friendly against Guatemala on Friday.

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