Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will stand trial for tax fraud, the Associated Press reports.
Reports earlier this week said the charges had been dropped, but court documents made public Thursday showed that a judge rejected that request. Messi is charged with three counts of tax fraud, and will be tried in Spain.
Both Messi and his father have been accused of avoiding payment of almost $5 million in taxes on Messi’s earnings from 2007 to 2009. According to the charges, Jorge Messi attempted the tax evasion through offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay.
Lionel Messi has contended he did not know about his father’s actions, but the state attorney’s office determined he had enough knowledge of the situation to be named in the case. Prosecutors are suggesting 22-month sentences for both Lionel and Jorge, the BBC reports.
Messi sustained a torn internal collateral ligament in his left knee last Saturday in a match against Las Palmas. The injury will keep him out for seven to eight weeks.
A date for the trial has not yet been set.
- Erin Flynn