Sport

Friday 22 September 2017

Lionel Messi’s father arrested over alleged connection with drug trafficking

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi

Jorge Messi is under investigation for his alleged connection with a drug trafficking network. According to reports in the Spanish media, Messi senior has been connected to Colombian drug gangs involved in money laundering.

Using codenames such as 'Row 0' of 'Messi and Friends Tour', the mafia gangs are said to have laundered money buying football tickets in bulk.

A source at the Madrid court confirmed Jorge Messi is under police investigation as part of the money-laundering probe but said he has not been named as a formal suspect in the case and has not been charged with any offence.

The alleged laundering took advantage of Row 0 seats sold for such events – tickets where the buyer had no intention of attending but wanted to donate money to the good cause and is said to centre on charity events such as the Friends of Messi football matches, as well as rock concerts performed by South American stars.

“The alleged role of Jorge Messi would be as the contact for these gangs, fundamental for the network,” the source told Spanish press.

“The detectives believe Messi’s father served as an intermediary to make sure his son and other sportsmen participated in the charity matches, in exchange for a percentage of money," it reported.

As well as Messi himself, other Barcelona stars such as Dani Alves, José Manuel Pinto, and Javier Mascherano have been questioned by the Central Operational Unit of the Guardia Civi (UCO) as part of the investigation.

In September Leo Messi and his father gave evidence in front of a Spanish judge at a separate tax fraud investigation both denying any wrongdoing over accusations of defrauding the authorities.

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