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Spanish prosecutors propose replacing Messi jail term with fine

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Spanish prosecutors propose replacing Messi jail term with fine
Barcelona's football star Lionel Messi in court in the tax fraud case. Photo: AFP
11:05 CEST+02:00
Prosecutors in Barcelona say they are not against replacing football star Lionel Messi's 21-month jail sentence for tax fraud with a fine, a spokeswoman announced on Friday.

They said they were willing to give the 29-year-old a fine of €400 ($450) a day for the duration of the sentence - an option that the defence of the Argentina international has also proposed.

That would amount to more than €250,000, although the court has the final decision over whether to go ahead with this option.

The daily fine would come on top of the €2.09 million fine Messi was also given when he and his father Jorge Horacio Messi were found guilty of tax fraud in a trial last year and sentenced to 21 months in jail.

Both appealed, but Spain's Supreme Court last month confirmed the jail term for the Barcelona striker, although it reduced Messi's father's sentence to 15 months.

The pair used companies in Belize, Britain, Switzerland and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on €4.16 million of Messi's income earned from his image rights from 2007-09.

The income related to Messi's image rights that was hidden includes endorsement deals with Danone, Adidas, Pepsi-Cola, Procter & Gamble and the Kuwait Food Company.

Messi is not the only football star to run into problems with Spain's courts, with Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo the latest to have been summoned to appear before a judge investigating tax fraud.

He is due to be questioned on July 31st on suspicion of evading €14.7 million in taxes.

SEE ALSO: Ronaldo won't quit amid tax fraud accusations, says Real Madrid club boss

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