Cameroon football legend, Samuel Eto’o could be in trouble as Spanish prosecutors have recommended that the former Barcelona striker be handed a 10 year jail sentence and a $19m fine over tax fraud.
It’s alleged that Eto’o set up a series of front companies to avoid paying taxes during his time in Spain’s La Liga, getting round paying his tax through a complicated and illegal image rights structure.
He ran two companies, one in Hungary and another in Spain and this allowed him to transfer his image rights between the two and avoid having to pay tax. According to reports in Spain, he owes almost £3million in tax from 2006 to 2009, while he was a footballer for Spanish giants, Barcelona. “The footballer pretended he had ceded his rights to two other companies in Hungary and Spain so as to fraudulently avoid paying taxes,” the prosecutor said.
Lionel Messi and Neymar, two current Barcelona players, have also recently been investigated and prosecuted for tax evasion.
The recommendations of the prosecutor are made public in Spain before a trial actually begins and no trial date has yet been set in this case.
Samuel Eto’o spent five successful seasons at Barca between 2004 and 2009, during which time he scored 129 goals for the club in 201 appearances. He was a key figure for Frank Rijkaard’s men as they won the UEFA Champions League in 2006, scoring the equaliser in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal, and won African Footballer of the Year twice while at the Camp Nou.