The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected Lionel Messi’s appeal against his conviction for tax evasion.
The Argentine was sentenced to 21 months in jail last year for failing to pay €4.1 million in taxes on image rights in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and was also given a €2m fine.
His father, Jorge Messi, was handed the same prison sentence and a smaller fine of close to €1.7m.
Although Messi is unlikely to serve time behind bars because he has no prior convictions, he appealed what his lawyers called a “symbolic” conviction, taking the case to a higher court.
The appeal has been knocked back, but the Supreme Court has lowered his sentence to 15 months, while his fine now stands at €1.3m and Jorge’s has been cut to €1.3m, Goal.com reports.
The tribunal ruled that the 29-year-old knew his obligations and knowingly defrauded the government, stating that “avoidable ignorance” does not exclude him from responsibility.
“It is not fitting to assume that the person who a large income can ignore the duty to pay for it,” the ruling read.
“Whoever does not pay anything at all to the Treasury despite the high perception of concrete income (the image rights), knows that he is defrauding.”
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