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Messi's suspended 21-month tax fraud term

dpadpa 6/07/2016 By Emilio Rappold

A Spanish court has sentenced soccer superstar Lionel Messi to a suspended 21-month jail term for tax evasion along with his father.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been given a suspended 21-month jail term for tax evasion along with his father, a Spanish court ruled on Wednesday.

Reports said the court in Barcelona had made the ruling after a trial which began at the end of May.

World footballer of the year Messi and father Jorge, who manages his financial affairs, had been accused by the Spanish tax agency of having defrauded Spain of more than 4 million euros ($A5.95 million) from 2007-09.

Authorities alleged the Messis set up tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

Spanish prosecutors had requested 22-month jail terms for the pair.

However, suspended sentences are common in Spain for first offences carrying a sentence of less than two years.

The 29-year-old testified at the trial on June 2 before heading to the United States for the Copa America.

His Argentina team lost in the final to Chile last month and he announced his international retirement.

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