When will people learn that they can't beat the taxman? The Beatles wrote a song about him and it was tax evasion that finally brought down Al Capone. And as Benjamin Franklin wrote, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
Wesley Snipes, Nicolas Cage, Willie Nelson, and Darryl Strawberry are just a few more of the big names who have tried, and failed, to beat the taxman. But all those warnings throughout history haven't stopped folks from trying - and to paraphrase George Santayana: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Lionel Messi obviously did not learn from history because last year he was found guilty, by a court in Barcelona, on three counts of defrauding the taxman of over 4 million euros and he was handed a 21-month prison sentence and fined 2 million euros. Also, his father got a 15-month sentence for helping Lionel cheat on his taxes and a 1.5 million euro fine.
Last month both sentences were upheld by Spain's Supreme Court, but it doesn't look like Messi, or his dad, will actually have to do any jail time.
In Spain, when a prison sentence is less than 2 years for a first-time offender (as is the case with both Lionel and his father) the sentences can be suspended by a judge.
In order to get those suspended sentences Messi has offered to pay an additional fine of 500,000 euros and his dad is offering up 360,000 to get out of his potential jail time.
TSN is reporting that the State prosecutor on the case told The Associated Press that the deals have been presented to the judge and that she has told the judge that her office is not opposed to the deal. It is expected that the judge will accept the fine-for-time deal and that neither Messi or his dad will have to spend any time in prison.
Lionel Messi is one of the two greatest soccer players in the world. And according to an ESPN piece from a couple months ago, Lionel Messi is the 3rd most famous athlete on the planet. The most famous being the other greatest soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Speaking of Ronaldo, he has also recently been accused of major tax fraud in Spain with millions of euros in unpaid taxes. Ronaldo has denied the charges.