Alexis Sanchez pleads guilty to tax fraud in Spain after paying back taxes

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion at Emirates Stadium on December 26, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez has plead guilty to defrauding Spanish tax authorities of nearly €1 million by concealing part of what he earned from image rights during his time at Barcelona, according to reports.

Sanchez appeared via video from London at a Barcelona court on Monday to submit his guilty plea, Spanish publication Europa Press reported Monday. He requested that the charges don’t go to trial since he already paid back taxes of €983,443.

Alexis had been accused of concealing earnings from his image rights while at the Camp Nou, to the sum of €587,677 in 2012 and €395,766 in 2013.

Sanchez’s teammates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano were also found guilty of the same crime, and handed suspended prison sentences, 21 months for Messi, and one year for Mascherano. Under Spanish law, however, a prison sentence under two years can be served under probation if the offender has no prior criminal record.

While Sanchez likely won’t have to stand trial, he still may have to pay a fine on top of the back taxes he’s already paid. He could be handed a light prison sentence as well, but, as in the case of Messi and Mascherano, it’s highly unlikely he’ll serve any time.

If Sanchez gets the pay rise he’s reportedly angling for at Arsenal, he won’t have to worry too much about the €1 million he just had to shell out. Just a couple weeks of wages and he’ll make it all back.