Lionel Messi, his family and his charitable foundation have been reported to the Spanish High Court for fraud and money laundering.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo report a former worker for the Fundacion Leo Messi (Leo Messi Foundation) named as Federico Rettori, filed the report after having filed a similar case in Argentina.
Lionel Messi, his father Jorge, his brother Rodrigo, the foundation and its accountants were all named in the report filed with the Spanish High Court for crimes against the tax authorities, accounting crimes, fraud and money laundering.
El Mundo say the report claims “it’s notorious that these people used the Fundacion Leo Messi as a tool to create a screen and therefore boost the image and the income of the foundation… without the smallest intention of allocating the funds to initiatives and social projects which they are obliged to do according to their functional mandate”.
Rettori reportedly provided documents to back up his claims, showing agreements signed with Universal Assistance and Lafmur for 2.1 million USD (1.65 million GBP), “amounts which instead of being paid into the foundation’s accounts were diverted to ‘opaque’ accounts in Luxembourg for other purposes.”
The report also mentions information previously revealed by El Mundo via the Football Leaks documents showing that the Leo Messi Foundation had worked for six years between April 2007 and June 2013 without being registered.
The documents allegedly showed that FC Barcelona had donated 7.5 million EUR (6.6 million GBP) to the foundation, which prompted the tax authorities to question whether this money was in fact some of Messi’s salary in 2016.
Spanish news outlet ABC report that the foundation received up to 10 million EUR (8.8 million GBP) between 2007 and 2015 which did not have to be declared before the tax authorities if it was being used for social projects.
The report claims that the foundation then spent large amounts of the money on external consultancies and ‘social rents’, such as 550,000 EUR (487,000 GBP) on “works to improved and refurbish the headquarters of the foundation” on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona.
The investigation is ongoing.
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