Skip to main content

Messi to appear in court in tax fraud case

June 20, 2013 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Lionel Messi celebrates after matching Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, netting in the 16th minute of Barcelona's match against Real Betis in December 2012. Just nine minutes later the Argentina star passed the German's 1972 milestone. Lionel Messi celebrates after matching Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, netting in the 16th minute of Barcelona's match against Real Betis in December 2012. Just nine minutes later the Argentina star passed the German's 1972 milestone.
HIDE CAPTION
Messi beats Muller
Time to spare
On the brink of history
Record in doubt
Barca's best
Chasing Muller
Magnificent Muller
For club and country
El Clasico
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spanish court rules that Lionel Messi and his father must testify in tax case
  • The Barcelona soccer star denies all allegations of wrongdoing
  • He is accused by Spanish tax authorities of handing in fraudulent returns
  • The Argentine is said to owe $5 million relating to image rights revenue

(CNN) -- Soccer star Lionel Messi must appear in court on September 17 to face possible charges of tax fraud, prosecutors in Spain said Thursday.

The four-time world player of the year and his father Jorge Horacio Messi are suspected of defrauding Spanish tax authorities of more than $5 million between 2006 and 2009. They deny the charges.

A judge will decide after the hearing whether to go ahead with the case, which is being held in a town near Barcelona -- where Messi has lived since moving from his native Argentina as a teenager.

Messi, who turns 26 next Monday, is 10th on the list of the world's highest-paid athletes as compiled by business magazine Forbes with earnings of $41 million.

Read: Neymar pledges to back Messi

Golf's world No. 1 Tiger Woods has reclaimed his position as the world's highest-earning athlete, according to Forbes. The 14-time major winner picked up $13.1 million in salary/winnings in the 12 months to June 1, as well as $65 million from endorsements with companies such as Nike. Woods is thought to be close to resigning with the American sportswear giant. Golf's world No. 1 Tiger Woods has reclaimed his position as the world's highest-earning athlete, according to Forbes. The 14-time major winner picked up $13.1 million in salary/winnings in the 12 months to June 1, as well as $65 million from endorsements with companies such as Nike. Woods is thought to be close to resigning with the American sportswear giant.
1. Tiger Woods - $78.1M
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Tiger tops highest-paid athlete list Tiger tops highest-paid athlete list
Arjen Robben celebrates with his Bayern Munich teammates after their resounding second leg victory over Barcelona in the Nou Camp. Arjen Robben celebrates with his Bayern Munich teammates after their resounding second leg victory over Barcelona in the Nou Camp.
Bayern triumph
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Bayern night of triumph in Nou Camp to reach Champions League final Bayern night of triumph in Nou Camp to reach Champions League final
Real Madrid have usurped Manchester United as the world's most valuable soccer club according to Forbes. The Spanish giants, whose star player is Cristiano Ronaldo, increased their value by 76% over the past year to $3.3 billion.
Real Madrid have usurped Manchester United as the world's most valuable soccer club according to Forbes. The Spanish giants, whose star player is Cristiano Ronaldo, increased their value by 76% over the past year to $3.3 billion.
Real Madrid - the world's most valuable club
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
Real Madrid world\'s most valuable club Real Madrid world's most valuable club

According to the papers filed on June 12 by prosecutor Raquel Amado in Gava, a seaside resort close to Barcelona where Messi lives, it is alleged that they tried to avoid paying taxes in Spain by selling the player's image rights through overseas companies.

His club Barcelona said it was not involved, as the image rights payments are independent of the reported $20 million yearly salary he receives from the Spanish champion team.

Messi used his Facebook website page to deny the charges earlier this month.

"We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities," read the statement in Spanish and English.

Read: Woods tops highest-paid athlete list

"We are surprised about the news, because we have never committed any infringement.

"We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants, who will take care of clarifying this situation."

Messi joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old in 2000, and has won six Primera Liga titles, three European Champions League crowns. Last year he scored an unprecedented 86 goals for club and country.

CNN's Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT