Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will be heading to court for tax evasion after a judge rejected his appeal.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner and his father, Jorge Messi, are accused of withholding about £3.4million in unpaid taxes between 2007 and 2009.
The Spanish judge’s statement read: ‘In this type of crime, it is not necessary for someone to have complete knowledge of all the accounting and business operations nor the exact quantity, rather it is sufficient to be aware of the designs to commit fraud and consent to them.’
Messi had hoped to avoid having to appear in court because his father manages his income.
Now he must sit in the dock alongside his father and answer questions relating the failure to pay tax in Spain between 2007-09 on various sponsorship deals, by diverting revenue through companies in England, Switzerland and Uruguay.