Lionel Messi Avoids Jail Time, Agrees to Pay €252,000 Fine

Good news for football fans across the world as Lionel Messi will not spend any time in jail over his conviction on tax fraud charges.

This follows a ruling by a court in Barcelona, Friday, that Messi’s 21-month prison sentence could be replaced with a fine of around €252,000.

It was a similar ruling for Messi’s father, Jorge, as he has also seen his 15-month prison sentence exchanged for a fine of around €180,000, ESPN writes.

The decision was reached after the judge accepted a proposition put forward by both the prosecutors and defence teams that the Barca forward be fined €400 per day for the duration of the sentence.

Messi and his father were both found guilty of three counts of tax fraud to the tune of €4.7 million last year, and were ordered to pay fines of €2m and €1.5m respectively in addition to prison sentences.

Spanish authorities showed that they used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay as well as shell companies in the United Kingdom and Switzerland to avoid paying taxes on earnings from Messi’s image rights between 2007 and 2009.

They vehemently denied the charges and lost on appeal at the Spanish Supreme Court, though neither was expected to do jail time as sentences under two years in Spain are usually suspended.

Friday’s ruling comes after a busy few weeks for Messi, who tied the knot with longtime partner Antonela Roccuzzo in his native Rosario shortly after turning 30 last weekend, before Barca confirmed earlier this week that the five-time ballon d’Or winner had agreed a three-year contract extension with the club in a world record £500,000 per week deal.

You bet he’ll pay his fine without batting an eyelid.

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