Judge refuses to drop Lionel Messi tax fraud charges
A judge rejected an appeal filed by Barcelona and Spain forward Lionel Messi's lawyers to drop tax fraud charges against him, according to the BBC.
Messi’s lawyer attempted to have him excluded from the case. In June, Spanish prosecutors asked the judge to drop charges against Messi on the grounds the star's father was responsible for his finances, but the judge rejected that request as well.
Messi and his father are accused of withholding more than $5 million from authorities between 2007 and 2009.
The Messis have five days to appeal the ruling and have denied any wrongdoing.
"In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity, rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them," the judge said in a statement.
Last August, Messi's father paid $6.6 million to cover unpaid taxes plus interest. If convicted of the charges, both men face up to six years in prison.
- Scooby Axson