Prosecutor orders arrest of Lionel Messi's brother Matias after boat crash
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- A prosecutor in Argentina has ordered the arrest of one of Lionel Messi's brothers.
Authorities say that Matias Messi illegally carried a gun. The weapon was found inside a blood-stained boat after he crashed it in the Parana river.
Prosecutor Jose Luis Caterina says Messi is being investigated and will eventually be detained for illegally possessing a firearm in "a suspicious context."
The 35-year-old is recovering from a fractured jaw and other injuries at a hospital in Argentina's Santa Fe province.
The prosecutor says that after the crash, the brother of the Barcelona and Argentina star was helped by a local resident.
Messi's attorney, Ignacio Carbone, said that his client crashed into a sandbank and denied that he owns the gun.
The Messi family released a statement earlier in the day about the incident. The statement, reported in Clarin newspaper, read: "Considering the false reports published in some media in the last few hours, the Messi Cuccitini family wishes to clarify that Matias Messi Cuccitini had an accident on Thursday in Fighiera, south of Rosario, when the motorboat in which he was in, with a Mercury 115 motor, hit a sandbank.
"He hit the windshield and suffered fractures in his jaw and his palate, as well as multiple cuts on his face. After being transferred to a hospital, Matias is under observation and awaiting a maxilla and jaw operation, as well as a reconstruction of his lip. Fortunately, any neurological damage has been discarded."
The family had also denied previous media reports that a firearm was found on the boat by police and that Matias is facing arrest.
The statement said: "The family denies any existence of a firearm on the boat, it's completely false all the information regarding this."
ESPN FC correspondent Adriana Garcia and the Associated Press contributed to this report.