World-acclaimed Spanish soccer player, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is a target in Spain’s continuing investigation of the “rich and famous” for tax evasion (Spain’s Princess Cristina and her husband, face criminal trial for tax evasion).
Messi is alleged to have transferred his “image rights” (i.e. name, likeness) to offshore companies in tax havens and not declare income from the merchandising (and other commercial exploitation) associated with the image rights. Messi is alleged to have evaded 4.1m Euros in tax between 2007-2009.
In the words of Spanish politician, Alberto Garzon: “In Spain, if you pay whatever money is necessary you don’t go to prison… A lot of people say that the patriots and defenders of the system are the worst delinquent of all. They are the ones responsible for the fact that we don’t have money for public health and pensions.”
See link for complete article, Lionel Messi Favored in Tax Drama, says Left-wing Politician Alberto Garzon.