BARCELONA

Leo Messi attacked by State Attorney over tax evasion

Barcelona: "They might not know much about tax matters, but even a 10 year old understands what paying taxes is", said the state attorney.

The State Attorney in the trial of Barcelona player Leo Messi, accused of tax fraud, gave "zero credibility" to the player's version of events. Messi had argued in court that he knew nothing about the scheme set up to avoid paying taxes on image rights between 2007 and 2009.

Messi called a "capo" by State Attorney

State attorney Mario Maza, went so far as to call Messi a "capo" heading up a "criminal structure", in that the striker didn't know the details, but he did know the "final result": paying less taxes".

Even a 10 year old understands paying tax

"They might be inexperienced (the player and his father, Jorge Messi, also accused) but they are capable of understanding what paying taxes is... Even a 10 year old child understands that". And Messi had to be able to understand (what was happening) without any problem", concluded the State Attorney, Mario Maza, who is representing the Tax Authorities.

The State Attorney also said he regretted the fact the two accused refused to answer his questions: "I made an effort to use simple language", he noted. 

Tax authorities seeking prison sentence

The State Attorney, on behalf of the Spanish tax authorities is seeking a jail sentence of 22 months for both Messi and his father. The prosecutor in the case however has accepted Messi's argument that he knew nothing about any tax evasion scheme and is solely seeking a jail term for Jorge Messi, the player's father.