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Stats suggest Bale is Madrid's fall guy

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Judge: Lionel Messi should not post bail

MADRID -- A Spanish court has declined a request by the State Agency for Tax Administration to set bail for Lionel Messi and his father in a case of alleged tax fraud after ruling that a payment made satisfied the case's legal requirements.

In a ruling published on Wednesday, a Catalan court says that a payment of more than €5 million ($6.6 million) made by Jorge Horacio Messi, the Barcelona star's father, made it unlikely that either Messi or his father would withhold funds "during the legal process of a pending tax fraud trial."

The complaint, originally lodged by Raquel Amado, a state prosecutor for the northeastern region of Catalonia, alleged Messi tried to conceal the extent of his earnings and he owes €4 million ($5.3 million) in back taxes.

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