Lionel Messi went on trial on Tuesday along with his father on accusations of defrauding the Spanish state of millions of euros, reports have stated.
Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi, who have both denied the allegations, appeared in the Barcelona court on Tuesday. The Barcelona star is expected to fly to the U.S. for the Copa America tournament when the trial ends.
A previous court ruled that Messi, 28, could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies allegedly used to evade taxes on income from image rights.
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Spain’s tax office accused both men in 2013 of defrauding the government of €4.2million (£3.2m) between 2007 and 2009.
According to the prosecutor’s office, which has proposed jail terms of up to 22 months, revenue was hidden using shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Messi and his father paid €5m (£3.8m) to the tax authorities as a ‘corrective’ measure after being formally investigated in June 2013.
Messi has been a resident in Barcelona since 2000 and has had Spanish citizenship since 2005.
Because of the trial, Messi is missing Argentina’s preparation for the Copa America Centenario, which begins on Saturday in the United States. He is expected to fly straight to the U.S. after the trial ends.