By Teresa Ambord
Spanish soccer star Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, protested their innocence when authorities accused them of filing false tax returns last June. Still, they agreed to pay additional taxes to settle the government's claims against them. By June 30, the total tax they paid – before and as a result of the charges – was the equivalent of $39,093,000.
Now, ahead of their mid-September hearing, they've paid another five million euros, equivalent to $6.6 million dollars, to the Spanish authorities. The court in Gava, which is near Barcelona, called it a "corrective payment."
The income on which they allegedly failed to pay taxes was from the sale of Messi's image in the years 2007 through 2009. Authorities claim the father and son hid the money in shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Messi and his father maintain their innocence. They're scheduled to appear at a hearing on September 17, but they've asked for a postponement due to a conflict.