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Messi distanced from tax issue - report

The court hearing Lionel Messi’s tax case has been told the Barcelona player did not have any role in managing his own ‘image rights’ income.

Messi and his father Jorge gave evidence in court in late September, answering charges the pair evaded over four million euros in taxes between 2007 and 2009 by routing such 'image rights' income through offshore tax havens.

The pair deny any wrongdoing, and reportedly told the judge that they were misled by their financial advisors and were now happy to make right any wrongs they had unwittingly committed. Messi senior then told the media that he and his son were both cooperating fully with the authorities.

Reports in Spain say the judge was told by experts from Spain’s ‘Hacienda’ tax authority, in a hearing this Wednesday, that Messi junior did not ‘manage’ his own image rights.

It now looks likely the four time Ballon d’Or winner will not face further direct punishment, having already paid a total of five million euros to cover money due for the period in question -- including taxes which were not paid initially, plus ‘reparations’.

Earlier in the summer the Messi family paid 10 million euros in taxes due on such ‘image rights’ income for the years 2010 and 2011.

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