Messi denies financial fraud accusations and vows to prove his innocence

The State Attorney is seeking to bring the Barcelona star to trial for evading payment on image rights, but a statement released on Thursday slammed the court's ruling.

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The State Attorney is seeking to bring the Barcelona star to trial for evading payment on image rights, but a statement released on Thursday slammed the court’s ruling.

Lionel Messi has fiercely criticized the decision by Spanish authorities to press charges against him for tax fraud, a ruling that went against previous recommendations by prosecutors. Officials investigating the case against Messi and his father Jorge had stated that the player should be excused from accusations, on the grounds that he was unaware of the illegal maneuvers used in the payment of image rights.

That position was rejected by the State Attorney on Thursday, however, provoking a swift backlash from the business which handles that area of his income.

"The Prosecutors’ Office did not accuse Lionel Messi of any financial fraud on September 25. In its statement, the Prosecutor’s Office widely discussed the reasons for not accusing Lionel Messi," Leo Messi Management argued in a letter titled ‘The State Attorney is trying to contradict prosecutors in Messi case’.

"The State Attorney has contradicted the Prosecutor’s request and judgement. The State Attorney’s statement was presented on July 8, while the Prosecutor’s was issued later, on September 25."

The statement went on to say that the State Attorney shouldn’t be the one bringing the charges. 

"The State Attorney represents the interests of the Revenue Agency, while the Prosecutor’s Office is the appropriate constitutional organisation formed with effective autonomy in the Judiciary. The sentence sought by the State Attorney does not imply it will be complied with effectively. In the coming weeks Lionel Messi’s defense will have the chance to present its arguments in the trial, and the evidence it believes relevant, which prove that the Prosecutor’s position in not accusing Lionel Messi is correct."

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