It’s been a bad year for people with a history of playing at Barcelona, at least as far as taxes go. First there was the case of Lionel Messi, accused and convicted of defrauding the Spanish government of nearly four million euros, for which he was famously given prison time that he will almost certainly never see, as Spanish law allows for shorter sentences like this to be served under probation.
There was also the case of Javier Mascherano, who was found guilty, fined almost a million euros, and given a similarly not-to-be-served 12 month prison sentence. That was followed by Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso (ED. NOTE: Xabi played for Real Madrid, not Barcelona), who was charged with tax fraud but who later had those charges dropped after no evidence could be found.
Well, today those Barcelona tax fraud fun and games hit a little closer to home:
Alexis Sanchez admits to tax fraud totaling almost €1m https://t.co/LSSMhJPG1Y— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) January 16, 2017
Yup, Atom and Humber’s dad. Tax cheat. I don’t think that makes him a worse player, and it doesn’t diminish his status in my eyes as one of my favorite recent-era Arsenal players. It does, however, raise a lot of interesting questions about the kind of financial advice Barcelona players are getting - there have been so many of these cases, and there will probably be more.
Most of these cases seem to involve offshore companies and image rights, and the hiding of income from the latter using the former. The question I have is, did the club point players to shady financial advisors with a wink and a nod, saying “these people will help”, or did the players find these advisors and these deals on their own or through their networks? In Messi’s case, it was his dad; but where did his dad get his advice?
Anyway, Alexis won’t face any jail time; he’s already made his restitution to the government, and as far as I can tell they consider the matter closed. Still, not a great look for Alexis, and hopefully he uses whatever the English equivalent of Charles Schwab is now instead of some dodgy dude with a “great idea”.