Prosecutors propose swapping Messi's jail time with fine in tax fraud case

Lionel Messi

Barcelona superstar striker Lionel Messi has escaped prison term, as Argentinean captain's 21-month jail sentence has reportedly been replaced by a huge fine.

Barcelona great Messi and his father Jorge were found guilty by a Catalan court last July on three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009 to the tune of 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million) on image rights.

The maximum fine would be around €255,500 on top of a almost €2 million fine handed down as part of last year's sentence.

Spain's state prosecutor would swap jail time for a fine of €255,000 ($285,000; £224,000), which equates to €400 for each day behind bars.

But the threat of serving ail has been struck off altogether following an agreement with the Spanish courts.

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As well as the jail terms, the Barcelona star and Argentina global was fined about €2m and his father €1.5m.

An appeal against the sentence was rejected by Spain's Supreme Court in May.

But because he had no previous convictions the prison sentence was effectively redundant in Spanish law. The unpaid taxes were from money made through endorsement deals, not Messi's salary paid by Barcelona.

And Cristiano Ronaldo is now fighting allegations he defrauded the Spanish tax office of nearly £13m through the sale of image rights.

In the last two weeks, Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho have been accused by a Madrid-based state prosecutor of having defrauded Spain's Tax Office of millions of euros (dollars) in unpaid taxes.

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