With great success comes great scandal. Barcelona superstar footballer Lionel Messi has been accused of tax evasion as part of the shady offshore dealings in the Panama Papers scandals, an allegation his family vehemently denies.
The Panama Papers scandal erupted when media groups made public a year-long worldwide investigation into a trove of 11.5 million documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm that exposed a tangle of offshore financial dealings by the elite.
“The Messi family wants to make clear that Lionel Messi has no carried out any of the acts attributed to him, and accusations he created a …. tax evasion plot, including a network of money-laundering, are false and insulting,” his family said in a statement.
Other personalities among the accused are associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmunder David Gunnlaugsson, sports stars and even silver screen favourites like Jackie Chan.
Despite denying his tax allegations, the drama continues for Messi as he and his father have been charged with tax fraud in a separate case for allegedly failing to declare 4.16 million euros in taxes related to his image rights between 2007 and 2008 through front companies in Belize and Uruguay. Their trial is set to begin on May 31.