The king of football convicted of tax evasionLionel Messi and his father Jorge were each sentenced to 21 months in jail after a spanish court found them guilty of three counts of tax fraudThey 're also due to pay a 3.7 million euro fineThe scheme began in 2005, when the Messis sold the football star's image rights to offshore companies hearquartered in tax havens such as Belize, Switzerland and Urugay.Advertising partners who wanted to use Messi's image then had to negociate directly with these shell companies, and the transactions became off limits for spanish tax authoritiesThis allowed Messi to evade over 4.1 million euros in taxes between 2007 and 2009 Investigation in the scheme has been ongoing since 2013, and Messi's line of defense has never waivered: His father always managed his assests, and the footballer was unaware of how he did itBut the argument failed to convince the State attorney, who compared Messi to a crime boss: not wanting to know the details, but guilty nonethelessLionel Messi can appeal the decision to Spain's supreme court, and it is unlikely that either he or his father will spend any time in jail .. Under spanish law, first offences carrying a sentence shorter than two years can be served under probationBut this could only be the beginning of the Argentine's legal troubles, after his name was also prominently featured in another (ongoing) scandal... the Panama papers..

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Football star Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison after a court in Barcelona found him guilty of three counts of tax fraud, a statement from the court said on Wednesday. Messi is expected to serve the term under probation.