Barcelona and former Argentina football superstar Lionel Messi
Barcelona and former Argentina football superstar Lionel Messi

International media is reporting that Barcelona and former Argentina football superstar Lionel Messi 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.

The court also sentenced the Argentine soccer player’s father, Jorge, to 21 months in prison for the same three crimes. The sentence can be appealed through the Spanish supreme court, the statement said.

However, under Spanish law a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation, meaning Messi and his father are unlikely to go to jail.

The 29-year-old, among the world’s highest-earning athletes, was accused of creating a string of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid taxation on €4.16m (£3.2m) of image rights earnings between 2007 and 2009.

Messi, who took time out from Argentina’s preparations for the Copa America tournament this summer, said in court last month: “I was playing football; I had no idea about anything. I trusted my dad and my lawyers.”

The Argentinian’s father Jorge Horacio Messi has also been handed the same punishment. The pair, who also face huge fines, can appeal their sentences through the Supreme Court.

During the trial, Messi said he never suspected any wrongdoing when his father would ask him to sign contracts or documents relating to his image rights, a lucrative source of income for any athlete of his calibre.

Witness Eva Blazquez, responsible for handling the four-time Champions League winner’s tax declarations, said: “Leo didn’t see them. The final supervision was done by the client, in this case, Jorge Messi.”

Messi’s father reiterated last month that his son didn’t know the details of his contracts. “I didn’t think it was necessary to inform him of everything,” he said

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36 COMMENTS

    • Has CHAGWA THE BIG THIEF PAID HIS TAXES ON THE 23 MILLION HE HAS AMASSED FROM ZAMBIAN TAX PAYERS IN 16 MONTHS?????????

      Vote WISELY 11/8/2016!! Vote ZAMBIA FORWARD!! VOTE UPND!!! Abantu baya!!

      #Chagwamustfall!! #PamaFikuyabebele!!

      I thank you!!

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    • Katondo, you will kiss dust ( that is what katondo, dust, means) on 11 August because PF and ECL are not push over as you try portray. You still need work harder beyond mere insults and rhetoric and writings like this to win. This guy you call Chakolwa is still the front runner like it or not. You will still have to get the 50+1 to win. I am sure you know it is impossible for HH and UPND to achieve this in August. Just imagine if you fail again after several re-runs? ECL wil still in plot one and he is likely to continue for another 5 years by default as the incumbent. On the other hand expect confusion and internal trouble in UPND as frustration sinks in after 11 August. UPND disintegration is surely coming.

      UPND will be a Party that tried everything but lost everything due poor…

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    • …And Under 5 supports Membe…and wants to become President of the Republic of Zambia? Sauloshi webo, ilyashi lya mutulo webo!

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  1. Messi are you a friend to Mumembe…..why don’t you pay tax gentlemen. Hope you wont blame P.F also..as the UP and Down here

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  2. Dont even talk about Mmembe yet,talk about the crimes that will land Kalusha Bwalya into Chimbwakaila.What tax did Kalu pay?And before tax,he has all those cases of Match fixing,giving Faz tenders to his family & friends,Corruption,hiring & firing coaches without contracts,where is our 2012 Africa cup prize money?Where are all those benefits,His K-stars in South Africa was run on FAZ accounts-fulltime.All hotel bills wherever he slept,whichever prostitute he slept with,were all footed by FAZ.This is a never-before-seen big headline in African football news.All this will happen after Aug 11.

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  3. With Mmembe the story is totally different,because Mmembe hasnt invaded tax,he is just owing just like the mines owes ZRA 10times more than Mmembe.And besides,I too,dont like the Mmembe guy,but truth be told,You cannot mix Weed & Balani smoke the sheit all night,& then just wake up the following morning & dream of closing the POST.This guy is a hard nut.His is deep rooted more than any of you PF cadres think he is.If iam to rate him on same scale with Edgar.Mmembe is 10times larger than Lungu,he is 6times wealthier than Lungu,He is 20times famous than Lungu.He is 4times more Educated than Lungu,he is 15times more respected than Lungu.So where just does your Chakolwa get the courage from to dare this guy?

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    • Being tough does not mean evading paying tax but being a law abiding citizens including paying taxes. What is the difference between evasion an owing? I thought if you evade paying automatically you owe due that evasion?

      Redbull, maybe you need to think much deeper or dig much deeper before you write.

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    • Yes Redbull he hasn’t invaded tax but for sure Mmembe was not declaring paye deducted from employees salaries and VAT paid by companies on Tax Invoices. These companies in turn claim the VAT which Mmembe did not declare and subsequently remit to ZRA and ZRA was paying this VAT to the claimants. Do you see and realise how serious this crime is. Unless you are ignorant of the Zambian tax system then you would defend the criminal like Mmembe. He has been stealing from the poor employees as well as the Zambian citizens himself inclusive.. How would you want to spare a criminal like him. In other countries he would have been behind bars. It is here in Zambia where even those that are unprincipled because of being power hungry would go flat out and defend a crime like this. Smart people would…

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    • @ Redbull. He is respected by f00ls like you. You hve to understand that he actually evaded tax all this while.
      1. VAT – This is a tax collected by the post on behalf of GRZ. It snot his money but money paid by all who buy the post on top of his money
      2. PAYE – He deducts from his employees salaries and should remit to ZRA monthly. he used to chew the money.
      3. Corporate tax – charged on profits made. since you say he is wealthy, it means he makes profits a lot. He has evaded for years transmitting tax on his profits. Now all these taxes have reached 53 million.
      By the way he is not popular as you think but only to those anus crewing chaps whose heads are not functioning properly. Let him stand in an election to prove your st.upid thinking of popularity

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  4. How many years should we cage M’membe. I wonder what HH thinks about this in relation to the Post cheating the government and its workers.

    I know HH does not see anything wrong with the Post cheating on its own workers and government because he did the same during privatisation and went away smiling with our money. “Birds of the same feathers flock together”.

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    • Asagai, you are wrong. You write so good and you don’t know nothing. Tax Evasion is different from Tax Default. In one ,you pretend to have made any money and therfore declare wrong figures to avoid paying tax. In the other, you declare the right figures and even know how much must be paid, but you choose not to pay. Both have different types of punishment.

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    • HH is a criminal himself…on privatization… so he sees nothing wrong in Membe avoiding to pay tax…birds of a feather….!

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  5. For Mr Mmembe the writing is on the wall. He has met his match. He has no where to escape? Lets forgive his Journalist because he also dribbled them. he store the NAPSA contributions. Rest in Peace Mmembe.
    Obviously we will not forget your mark on Zambian POLITCAL history. # THE CARTEL MUST FALL

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  6. Fun you are reporting this in an effort to connect The Post… tells you heaps about the thinking capacity of us Zambians as a whole… total different and unrelated issue; different circumstances; different everything. Messi is an individual whereas The Post is a company. No one has been arrested for tax fraud in Zambia in relation to The Post, so how is this connected? Please use different means to justify your political harassment of The Post, this is cheap and doesn’t cut it.

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    • Maverick, the point is that tax must be paid when it is due. Why let it accumulate to levels where you can not afford to pay? This is just another angle in a different country to show that tax must be paid.

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    • Maverick,
      Tawakwata amano. When PF does not do certain things you are the first to condemn but forget that your god Fred Mmembe refuses to pay so that government can function to people’s expectation. Wali tumpa sana

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  7. Redbull exposing your dullness on media,the battle is not between mmembe and chakolwa as you may say nooo,its between mmembe vs Zambia,now tell me who is richest between Zambia and mmembe,tax is paid by both poor and RICH people.

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  8. Redbull,when chakolwa goes to sign any document attached to Zambia,he does that ON BEHALF OF ZAMBIA not for himself.The poor can’t persue the rich for such crimes,it takes someone with an influential position like our chakolwa,tell you what my love for him is unconditional.

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  9. Tax assessment is different from owing taxes and tax evasion. The K53 Million is an assessment which anyone can dispute. Tax assessment is subjective. The tax authority simply goes to your offices and determine what tax they deem you should have been paying. This is tax assessment which is subjective and disputable that is why it is supposed to be appealed to the tax tribunal. When I hear some people saying that they owe this K53 million tax I laugh. We have so many ignorant people who comment on issues they have very little understanding. The issue of the Post is not owing taxes but tax assessment which they have every right to dispute because of its subjective nature. I was mistaken to think bloggers are enlighten but I’m beginning to think twice. My be it is just cadres who post…

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    • Man, you really need to slow down! Look, in the case of a Tax assessment what you do is PAY the assessed amount and if you feel the amount was wrong or excessive, you file papers for a refund and ZRA can look at your case again. If you then can’t come to a resolution, that’s when you take your case to an ARBITRATOR, in our case the TAX TRIBUNAL.

      This is how it is done even here in the USA. In fact, here, even in a case of a simple Traffic Ticket, you pay first, dispute the ticket later in Court if you so feel, and if you win your case, money is refunded to you in part or whole. I am pretty sure Tax Laws and the way to resolve any disputes is similar in Zambia too. BUT IF YOU IGNORE OR REFUSE TO PAY, THEY WILL COME AFTER YOU!

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    • By the way, since you say TAX ASSESSMENT is SUBJECTIVE and The Post have every right to dispute it, YES and I don’t think anybody is against that. But don’t you also think if every taxpayer ZRA assessed taxes against went about disputing the assessment, the way The Post has gone about it, that ZRA would be spending all its time fighting cases at the Tax Tribunal?

      That’s why the policy/procedure is that you pay the Assessed amount first and then file for a refund lf you feel you overpaid. And then go from there if a resolution can’t be reached directly with ZRA. In most cases, if you approach ZRA, they will explain exactly how they arrived at the figure. Your first response shouldn’t be rushing to the Tax Tribunal or the Courts. Which is what M’membe did and LOST in the Supreme…

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    • Because guess what, M’members has now run out of options. He can NOT now run back to the Tax Tribunal (a lower Judicial organ) to undo the Supreme Court decision. In any case the Supreme Court heard evidence on the same disputed Tax Assessment and rendered it’s Judgement on that basis. It is not like the Supreme Court was adjudicating a different case and was unaware of what the case was about!

      So this is the end of the road for The Post on this case. Their appeals route is finished—no any other Court or Tribunal has the legal powers to overrule the Supreme Court—the price you pay for arrogance and misplaced self-importance!

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  10. Intersting, amafus are not saying anything such as “Witch hunt” because it is a European nation involved! Africans and some people surprise me!

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  11. I told Messi not to play in a Broke country like Spain. How many players or athletes do you hear in tax troubkes in UK? Neymar and Suarez will be next.

    ZRA has debts to refund pruned Miners so thwy have come up with fake demand orders on the Post to finance them, SHAME!!!

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    • Vodka Rungu, There is nothing for ZRA to be ashamed about. Actually you need to give them a pat on the back for doing their work to recover what the Post owes them. Vodka, i know you know, unless your educational levels are not adequate to comprehend how governments raise money to pay salaries and retirement dues you are alluding to in case of the pruned Miners. Partly governments do this by collecting taxes and ensuring that those who want avoid or default are brought to book.

      I hope this little shibukeni lesson will help you my friend. Next time before you write do a little research. Google is good. We need quality discussion.

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