Soccer player Lionel Messi has reportedly paid the Spanish government the equivalent of $13 million in back taxes in a bid to settle his tax problems.
The newspaper La Vanguardia reported that the Argentinean soccer star, who is one of the highest paid athletes in the world, paid 10 million euros to cover the taxes on money earned from his image rights for 2010 and 2011.
Messi has denied reports that he and his father illegally used shell companies to tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to dodge taxes on money earned from his image rights. His attorneys at the firm Juarez Veciana said he “scrupulously complies with Spanish legislation,” according to The Sports Xchange. He and his father Jorge are due to appear in court on Sept. 17, according to ESPN FC.
Messi is also reportedly negotiating with Spanish authorities over the payment of a further $5 million (4.1 million euros) in taxes. His attorneys said that he would pay the amount determined, but they believe he has already paid the full amount of taxes owed.
Messi plays for the Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona and is estimated to have earned $41.3 million so far this year, including $20.3 million from his salary and $21 million in endorsement fees.
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