Barcelona star Javier Mascherano gets one-year jail sentence for tax evasion
Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has been sentenced to a year in prison after he was found guilty on two counts of tax evasion in 2011 and 2012. The Argentina international was also fined a whopping €815,000.
However, reports suggest that Mascherano may not serve any time after repaying the money owed and agreeing to pay a huge fine. The former Liverpool midfielder had admitted to the offences he was charged with but sought leniency on the account of not knowing much about ‘legal and financial matters’.
Since his team complied with the investigation team, the court may allow Mascherano to walk free if he pays up another fine. His lawyer David Aineto had sought a furhter fine in exchange for suspending the one-year sentence.
The 31-year-old had been charged with two counts of tax frauds for €600,000 in 2011 and over €968,000 in 2012. The amount was related to tax payments which were not paid for image rights with Nike. Mascherano had allegedly sold the rights to companies in the United States and Portugal to avoid paying tax.
I have been an honest person all my career: Mascherano
Mascherano released a statement today where he said he was not to blame as he did not know how to handle legal and financial matters. He explained he was just a professional footballer with no knowledge of how the system worked.
“I am a professional sportsman and I don’t know a lot about legal and financial matters. Therefore I must rely on the people that manage these technical, and for me, complicated, issues.
“All my career I have been an honest and responsible person. I will take this experience that has accosted me as another experience which I will leave stronger and calmed by the fact that I am once again within the law.”
But if Mascherano repeats the same offence, he will most likely serve a jail term.
More to follow