Barcelona's Lionel Messi, above, and his father made what was termed… (Juan Mabromata / Getty Images )
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, the world's greatest soccer player, is a bit poorer after he and his father, Jorge, paid $6.6 million to Spanish authorities who had charged the pair with filing false tax returns.
The Messis, who were facing the possibility of jail time, deposited the "corrective payment" last month, said a court in Gava, near Barcelona, according to Reuters.
The Messis, who are Argentine, are still due to appear at a hearing on Sept. 17, although their lawyer had asked for it to be postponed as he had another commitment that day, the court statement added. Both men, who denied wrongdoing, allegedly hid more than $5.25 million by filing incomplete returns for the years 2006 to 2009.
The sale of Messi's image rights had been hidden using a complex web of shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, according to the prosecutor's office for tax crimes in Catalonia said.
"I never take care of that stuff myself and neither does my father," Messi, a four-time world player of the year, said in July. "We have our lawyers and our wealth managers to take care of that and we trust them and they will sort this out. The truth is that I don't have a clue about all this and that is why we have people taking care of it."
Messi has been resident in Barcelona since 2000 and gained Spanish citizenship in 2005.
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