Lionel Messi is one of many names mentioned it the so-called Panama Papers leak, and he is going to fight back after a Spanish newspaper accused him of tax fraud.
News reports say Messi is planning to sue El Confidencial, after the Spanish newspaper accused the Argentine football star of “setting up a tax fraud network” to hide money from tax collectors.
The newspaper published documents that purportedly show the signatures of Lionel, and his father Jorge Messi, on a contract to acquire the Uruguayan shell company Mega Star Enterprises, a day after he was indicted by Spanish authorities for failing to pay nearly $4.7 million in back taxes.
The paper accused Messi of using the company to avoid paying taxes on image rights deals.
FILE - The Mossack Fonseca law firm logo is seen on a wall in Panama City, April 3, 2016. The allegations against Messi surfaced as part of a massive data leak of more than 11.5 million documents from the Panama-based law firm.
The newspaper reports Messi signed at least one document indicating his ownership of the company, but his father took over sole ownership of the company in December 2015.
Messi and his father are due in court on May 31 to deal with the previous tax evasion charges.
The contract surfaced as part of a massive data leak of more than 11.5 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, which have come to be known as the Panama Papers. The documents were leaked to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which subsequently transferred them to more than 100 media organizations around the world.
The documents reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians from around the world and 72 current or former heads of state.