Spanish court rejects Messi appeal in tax fraud case

Spanish court rejects Messi appeal in tax fraud case

BARCELONA - A Spanish court has rejected an appeal lodged by Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi against his prosecution for alleged tax evasion.

Spain's public prosecutor argued in June that Messi's father Jorge was responsible for the family's finances and not the four-times World Player of the Year.

A court in Barcelona decided, however, Lionel Messi could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies that were allegedly used to evade taxes due on income from image rights.

The appeal against that decision has been rejected, according to court documents published on Friday.

Messi and his father have been accused of defrauding the Spanish state of more than 4 million euros (5 million US dollars). They have denied wrongdoing.

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