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Messi Hit By Tax Evasion Claims

Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge have been stunned by accusations of tax evasion - with a deficit of over 4 million euros being reported in the media.

The Spanish tax authorities are investigating claims that the Argentina international, along with father Jorge Horacio, have avoided charges in regard to sales of the player's image rights by operating through foreign-based companies.

A complaint, which was signed by prosecutor Raquel Amado, was filed in Barcelona on Wednesday, but Messi has moved quickly to deny the claims.

Via a statement on his official Facebook page, Messi said that he was surprised by reports in the media and would clear all matters with the help of their tax consultants.

Under Spanish laws, Messi could face time in jail with up to six years imprisonment being possible if he is found guilty.

"We have learned through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities," said Messi in the statement.

"We are surprised about this news, because we have not committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all of our tax obligations, following the advice of our tax consultants, who will take care of clarifying this situation.”

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