Following accusations of tax fraud in Spain, renowned footballer Lionel Messi took to his Facebook page to deny the claims and reassure some 46.5m fans.
Four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Messi – believed by many to be one of the greatest ever footballers – faces up to six years in prison if allegations of cheating the Spanish tax authorities out of €4m prove true.
The FC Barcelona player, who hails from Argentina, resides in Gava, just outside Barcelona. Spanish prosecutors have filed a writ there and it’s reported that Messi and his father Jorge – who took care of his finances before the 25-year-old came of age – have been charged with three separate offences that could land the footballer in jail and cost him a fine of up to six times the amount defrauded.
In response, Messi took to his Facebook page, which has accumulated more than 46.5m ‘likes’. Writing first in Spanish and following with an English translation, the statement reads: “We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities. We are surprised about those [sic] news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.”
The post, which was published about 19 hours ago, has so far received more than 55,000 likes and nearly 6,500 comments, and been shared almost 3,000 times on the social network.