Lionel Messi insisted to the Judge in a Barcelona court that he knew nothing about evading €4m in tax from image rights as he was only focused on football and trusted his father and lawyers to handle the financial aspect of his career.
The Barcelona FC Star is being tried in court for tax evasion totaling €4million and together with his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, declined to take questions from the state prosecutors but gave testimony in the court in Barcelona claiming ignorance of his tax affairs, the same defense strategy he used in 2013 while in court for tax evasion.
He and his father Jorge stand accused of defrauding Spain of over €4million in taxes by using offshore companies in Uruguay and Belize to conceal image rights earnings in the period 2007-2009.
“I didn’t know anything, all I know about is playing football and winning. I left it all to my Dad,” Messi said, wearing a dark suit and tie. I only knew that sponsors would pay X amount of money, that I had to do adverts, photos and things like that.” continued Messi, according to quotes gotten by Mirror Sports.
“I never read anything… I would sign where [the lawyers] said. I signed [the adidas contract] when I was 18, I was in another world.”
Jorge Messi, had earlier said he didn’t realise the Belize company that managed image rights deals didn’t pay taxes in Spain, and that he never informed his son, Messi of the details of sponsorship deals saying all he’s ever wanted to do was to make Messi’s life easier..
“Since the start of Leo’s career I only tried to make his life easier,” he said. Leo knew nothing of these companies. He didn’t read the contracts. They needed his signature, he went and signed but he didn’t read anything and nor did anyone explain it to him.”