FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has lost his appeal over his 21-month prison sentence, as confirmed by Spain's Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old was sentenced to 21 months in prison and fined €1.7 million (about R25 million) for tax fraud worth of €4.1 million (about R57 million) between 2007 and 2009.
The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld the sentence against Messi, while his father's sentence was reduced from 21 to 15 months.
However, neither of them will actually go to prison because the sentence will be suspended, as is common for first-time offenders in Spain who are handed a prison sentence of less than two years, as reported by El Confidencial.
It was found that Messi's father had indeed used companies in tax heavens such Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize to reduce tax on the player's income from his image rights.
Messi, who has already returned the whole defrauded amount of €4.1 million, has maintained throughout that he did not know about the dealings of his father, who claimed he was told by his legal advisers that his practices were legal.
However, the court ruled that Messi's excuse of not knowing about the dealings of Jorge Messi and his representatives does not exempt him from being punished.
Do you think Messi and/or his father should go to jail for their massive tax fraud? Have your say in the comments section below.