A Spanish judge has accepted tax fraud allegations against four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi and his father Jorge, opening investigations against them. Messi was summoned for a September 17 court date.
A Spanish court in the town of Gava near Barcelona on Thursday accepted a tax fraud case submitted by public prosecutor Raquel Amada last week. The judge named Lionel Messi as a suspect in the tax probe and summoned Barcelona's Argentine striker to appear in court on September 17.
That September hearing is to form part of the provisional investigation into the case, charged with ascertaining whether there is enough evidence to officially charge either Lionel or his father Jorge Messi with tax fraud.
The allegations against Messi focus on his 2007, 2008 and 2009 tax returns. Amada on June 12 said that Messi owed around four million euros ($5.3 million) in back taxes on money earned selling image rights.
Jorge Horacio Messi has acted as one of his son's agents ever since he made his Barcelona debut as a 16-year-old in 2004.
The Argentina international has risen to be the most famous name in the game, winner of the last four consecutive FIFA World Player of the Year awards and Barcelona's most prolific marksman of all time. He turns 26 on June 24 and has already played 75 games for his country.
He again topped the scoring charts in Spain's La Liga this season, scoring more than a goal a game and restoring the league title Barcelona had lost when Real Madrid topped the final table in 2012.
msh/pfd (AFP, AP)