Football: Messi's father arrives at court for tax hearing

Football: Messi's father arrives at court for tax hearing
Football star Lionel Messi's father, Jorge Messi (in sunglasses).

GAVA, Spain - Barcelona star Lionel Messi's father arrived at a court in Barcelona ahead of a scheduled appearance by the player on Friday in which the two must answer tax evasion charges.

Jorge Messi arrived with his lawyers at the court in Gava, the Barcelona suburb where the player lives, shortly before 10:00 am (0800 GMT), with the Argentine striker expected to turn up an hour later.

Messi senior was wearing a dark jacket and sunglasses and made no comment to the waiting crowd of reporters.

The two were summoned to go before a judge on charges of evading tax on the player's image rights to the tune of 4.16 million euros (S$6.3 million, US$5 million, £3.5 million).

They have denied wrongdoing and Jorge Messi paid the tax authorities five million euros in August - the 4.16 million euros claimed by the taxman plus interest - which is likely to significantly reduce any sentence should they be found guilty.

Lionel Messi, 26, is widely considered the best footballer in the world and has been named FIFA World Player of the Year four times.

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