Football: Messi and his father to stand trial on three counts of tax fraud

Football star Lionel Messi arriving at the courthouse in the coastal town of Gava near Barcelona to face judges on tax evasion charges, on Sept 27, 2013.
Football star Lionel Messi arriving at the courthouse in the coastal town of Gava near Barcelona to face judges on tax evasion charges, on Sept 27, 2013.PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) - Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge are to stand trial on three counts of tax fraud that could carry prison sentences, a Spanish court confirmed on Thursday.

In a court filing, the judge in charge of the case rejected the request of the public prosecutor to try only the footballer's father.

The pair were accused in 2013 of defrauding the taxman out of €4.16 million (S$6.62 million) in taxes related to Messi's image rights between 2007 and 2009 through the creation of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay.