Spanish officials have dropped tax fraud charges against FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi, according to Spain’s El País newspaper (link in Spanish). Barcelona’s economic crimes prosecutor is still seeking a 1.5 year prison sentence and 1 million euro ($1,120,695 USD) fine for Messi’s father, Jorge Horacio Messi, after determining that he was the sole person responsible for tax fraud involving his son’s finances.
Lionel Messi still may have to appear in court. El País reports that the state bar, which defends the interests of Spain’s treasury and tax agency, has already submitted its indictment against him in the case.
In 2013, Lionel Messi and his father were accused of illegally evading nearly €4.2 million in taxes by selling his intellectual property rights (including his brand and likeness) to shell companies in lower-tax countries like Uruguay and Belize, and then reaping huge endorsement profits.
This story is developing and will be updated as more details become available.