Alexis Sanchez is latest Barcelona player to be accused of tax evasion


Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez is the latest Barcelona player (past or present) who's been accused of tax fraud, allegedly failing to report part nearly €1 million in image rights earnings during his time at the Nou Camp.

According to Catalan newspaper El Periodico, the city of Barcelona public prosecutor's office has filed a complaint against Sanchez, who is suspected of having filed fraudulent tax returns in 2012 and 2013 to avoid paying €983,443.

Alexis is alleged to have used offshore companies in Chile and in Malta to conceal his earnings, “actively withholding” taxes to defraud the authorities of  €587,677 in 2012 and €395,766 in 2013.

Prosecutor Miguel Angel Perez de Gregorio alleges that Sanchez didn't include the income from the transfer of his image rights in both 2012 and 2013 while in Barcelona, and he's also accused of “simulating the transfer of those rights” to an offshore company, based in Malta, called Numidia Trading.

If found guilty, Alexis would be the sixth Blaugrana player to face tax issues in recent years. Earlier this year, Lionel Messi was found guilty of three counts of tax fraud and given a suspended prison sentence, while Javier Mascherano was fined and given a one-year prison sentence that was also suspended. Neymar even had a whopping £32 million in assets frozen by a Brazilian court due to tax issues.

Former Barcelona stars Samuel Eto'o and fullback Adriano still currently have open cases against them regarding alleged tax evasion in Spain.

At this time, it's unclear what sort of punishment Alexis would face if found guilty of the alleged crime, based on similar cases, he could be facing hefty fines, or even the possibility of jail time.