EPL 2016/17: Alexis Sanchez investigated for tax evasion during his time at Barcelona
Arsenal talisman Alexis Sanchez has found himself in the middle of a tax evasion scandal as the former Barcelona player is reportedly under investigation by a public prosecutor for ‘actively withholding’ taxes during his time at Barcelona.
Alexis Sanchez is the latest former or present Barcelona player to be accused of evading taxes in Spain.
Spanish newspaper El Periodico have claimed that the 27-year-old Chilean actively withheld taxes from the Inland Revenue of more than €983,443 over three years, and could face jail time if found guilty.
According to prosecutor Miguel Angel Perez de Gregorio, Sanchez had failed to declare the income received from his image rights deal for three years and accused of laundering the money to an offshore account in Malta called Numidia Trading.
The Chilean split the money into two and deposited €587,677 [currently worth £531,372] in 2012 and a further €395,766 [£357,817] into the Maltese account. The player also failed to declare the existence of the Maltese account for which he is accused of ‘simulating the transfer of those rights’. A possible lengthy jail sentence could be the outcome for Alexis if he is found guilty by the prosecutor.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano were prosecuted by Spanish authorities for were caught in similar scandals. Mascherano admitted to two counts of tax fraud over €1.5m in the period of a year between 2011 and 2012 and given a suspended prison term of a year.
Lionel Messi along with the father Jorge were also suspect of fraudulent activities between 2007 and 2009, totalling over €4.1m in taxes evaded. The player was sentenced to a suspended jail term of 21 months with a €1.7m fine in addition to the €5.1m paid in arrears by the player to Spanish authorities.
Also Read: Chronicling Lionel Messi's tax fraud case
Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta condemned the management and behaviour of the current and previous heads of the Catalan giants Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rossell, for failing to support the players during their ordeal.
Alexis Sanchez is the latest victim of tax scandals which seem to have rocked the footballing world every few years, but the Chilean has not responded to the tax evasion reports.