A Spanish court has ignored a prosecutor’s request to drop charges of tax fraud against Lionel Messi and ordered the investigation into three cases of suspected unpaid taxes to proceed.
The prosecutor argued in June that Messi’s father Jorge and not the four-times World Player of the Year, was responsible for the family’s finances
However, the court in Barcelona has decided that the Argentina player “could have known and consented” to the creation of a fictitious corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income made from his image rights.
Argentina’s Messi and his father were accused last year of defrauding the Spanish state of more than €4m (£3.1m) by filing false returns for the years 2006 to 2009. They have denied wrongdoing.
Messi’s father, Jorge Horacio Messi, is under investigation for an alleged €4 million in unpaid taxes from 2007-09.
Messi earns just over $40m (£23.5m) a season in salary and bonuses, according to Forbes magazine, as well as about $23m from sponsors.