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Sports

Football star Messi denies tax fraud

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Opening sequence

Sports

Football star Messi denies tax fraud

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COMING UP:Football star Messi denies tax fraud

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Transcript

00:00:02
>> Barcelona's star football player arriving at court to answer charges of tax evasion. Lionel Messi is charged, along with his father Jorge with hiding more than $4 million in a network of Shell companies form the UK to Central America. He told Barcelona's high court on Thursday he left his father with control of his affairs, while he concentrated on the football.
00:00:25
>>
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> I was devoted to playing football, I trusted my father, I trusted the lawyers he'd chosen to run things and I had no idea about anything.>> Investigators spend three years trolling through Messi's accounts, tracking money earned for his image rights. As he's already made a voluntary payment of 5 million Euros.
00:00:49
And although the pair could face up to 22 months in prison if found guilty, they're unlikely to be jailed, according to Reuters sports reporter Oliver Regan.>> But at the moment it looks very unlikely that assuming a crime of this case would mean that either of them would go to jail, cuz in Spain, any nonviolent crime that has a sentence of less than two years is usually a suspended sentence.
00:01:10
So even if they were found guilty, it would most likely be a big fine rather than jail time.>> Is not expected back in court. He's due to join the Argentina squad, preparing for the Copa America starting this weekend. Forbes Magazine says the five times world player of the year is in the top ten highest paid sport stars in the world, earning around $350 million over the last decade.
00:01:34
Impressive numbers for a man by his own admission more a football wizard than a financial one.