Football: Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez admits to tax fraud

The 28-year-old Chile international's confession could see him receive a fine and possibly a non-custodial prison sentence.
The 28-year-old Chile international's confession could see him receive a fine and possibly a non-custodial prison sentence.PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) - Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez on Monday (Jan 16) admitted defrauding Spanish tax authorities of 983,443 euros (S$1.49 million) while playing for Barcelona.

The 28-year-old Chile international's confession could see him receive a fine and possibly a non-custodial prison sentence.

Giving evidence via video link from London, Sanchez "recognised a tax error which he has settled with the Spanish Treasury," a judicial source said.

Sanchez admitted that his tax declarations for 2012 and 2013 had not included profits from his image rights, which transited through a company based in Malta.

He also admitted that he had not stated that he owned the company Numidia Trading Limited.

The case is similar to former Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano, who was handed a one-year prison term in January 2016 and fined 815,000 euros for tax fraud.

In Spain sentences of less than two years are in general not served.

Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi and his father were also sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined two million euros in July 2016, for tax fraud estimated at more than four million euros between 2007 and 2009.