It was not a good weekend for Barcelona star Lionel Messi. First he saw his side lose 2-1 to bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Clasico and then he name surfaced in the “Panama Papers” as one of the people involved in tax evasion.
Both Messi and his father Jorge Horácio Messi are currently on trial in Spain for tax evasion. That particular case focuses on image rights issues in companies with no business activity in Uruguay and Belize and is scheduled to go to trial on June 3.
That case has been viewed in the Catalan press as a Madrid attack on Messi, but they will not be able to easily dismiss these new allegations.
According to La Sexta and El Confidencial, the Barcelona star and his father acquired the the shell company Mega Star Enterprises via an Uruguayan company just one day after Spanish authorities said he evaded €4.1 million in unpaid taxes.
The offshore company is not mentioned in the Spanish government’s 2014 and 2015 indictments against the pair.
Messi is not the only big name involved in the scandal currently being uncovered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The Panama Papers represent the biggest data leak so far, with more than 11.5 million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca being passed to the German newspaper Seddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with 107 media organisations around the world.
They reveal links between 72 current or former heads of state and 140 politicians as well as former Uefa president Michel Platini.
Messi’s Barcelona teammate Neymar has felt unfairly targeted by the Spanish tax authorities and I wonder of these consistent stories and accusations could force one or both of them to leave Barca and Spain for another country?