Football: Lionel Messi jail term lifted in place of €250k fine

Barcelona's football star Lionel Messi (left) and his father Jorge Horacio Messi listening as they face judges in a tax fraud case at the courthouse in Barcelona, on June 2, 2016.
Barcelona's football star Lionel Messi (left) and his father Jorge Horacio Messi listening as they face judges in a tax fraud case at the courthouse in Barcelona, on June 2, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

SPAIN (REUTERS) - A Spanish court said on Friday it has exchanged a 21-month prison sentence handed to Argentinian football superstar Lionel Messi for tax fraud last July for a €250,000 (S$394,621) fine.

The Barcelona talisman and his father were found guilty by a Catalan court last year of three counts of tax fraud to the tune of €4.1 million over income earned from image rights.

Messi's father also had his 15-month sentence exchanged for a fine of €180,000, the court said.

Neither Messi or his father would have served time in jail following the original ruling as defendants without a previous conviction are permitted to serve any sentence of under two years on probation according to Spanish law.

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