Lionel Messi receives jail sentence
In May, Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona was been given a 21-month jail sentence for tax evasion. The amount in question is over € 4 million. He and his father allegedly used letterbox companies in Belize, Switzerland and Uruguay to hide money from the tax authorities. However, it is unlikely that Messi will serve time behind bars because under Spanish law, a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation if a person has no prior criminal record. However, in addition to the tax in arrears, Messi will have to pay an additional fine of 2 million to the tax authorities.
Cristiano Ronaldo under investigation by public prosecutors
Cristiano Ronaldo has been accused of defrauding the authorities of a significantly higher amount than his colleague Messi. According to the Spanish prosecutors, the world star, playing for Real Madrid, is alleged to have hidden more than € 14 Million from the authorities. As in the case of Messi, here too letterbox companies in tax havens have been playing a significant role. When Ronaldo will stand trial is still unknown
Football leaks reveal many cases of football stars engaging in tax tricks
Similar to the Panama Papers case, unknown whistleblowers handed journalists extensive data material, which pointed to tax tricks used by football stars. Apart from Messi and Ronaldo, the public learned that Angel di Maria of Real Madrid, Manchester United Manager José Mourinho or Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil also failed to pay the tax they owed. This normally involves revenue losses of several million euros, which society has to pay. It is difficult to understand that football stars of all people become tax evaders. These athletes often earn an annual income, which exceeds the salary of an average employee more than hundredfold. It is high time for some football stars not only to demonstrate fair play on the pitch but also towards society and tax authority.