Messi in €300,000 charity fraud

Lionel Messi

Barcelona have said payments made to Lionel Messi’s non-profit foundation between 2010 and 2013 were above board after a claim they were made as part of his salary.

Der Spiegel, which said it had seen internal Barcelona documents, reported that tax officials found transfers worth millions of euros from the club to Messi’s father Jorge and his foundation during a 2016 audit of Barca’s accounts.

The report said Messi’s advisers struck a deal to pay the authorities around €12 million in unpaid taxes on the payments despite maintaining they were not part of his wages.

“All of the money the club wired to Lionel Messi’s foundation was for charitable purposes,” a Barcelona spokesperson told ESPN FC. “The interpretations that [Der Spiegel], other media or other people can make about these donations does not change this position at all. There will be no further comment on the issue.”