Lionel Messi given extra fine for tax fraud to avoid prison sentence
Football superstar Lionel Messi and his father can avoid prison for tax fraud by paying an extra fine, a Spanish court has ruled.
Instead of serving his 21-month sentence, the Barcelona and Argentina forward will be fined an extra 252,000 euros (£223,000).
The Barcelona-based court also ruled that Messi's father, Jorge Horacio Messi, will be fined an extra 180,000 euros (£159,000) instead of serving his 15-month sentence.
The ruling was widely expected in Spain, where prison sentences under 24 months for first-time offenders can be waived by a judge.
Last year, a court found Messi and his father each guilty of three counts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros (£3.6 million) from 2007-09.
The unpaid taxes were from money made through endorsement deals, not Messi's salary paid by Barcelona.
In that ruling Messi was also fined 2 million euros (£1.7 million) and his father 1.5 million euros (£1.3 million).
Both were originally sentenced to 21 months, but his father's sentence was later reduced to 15 months.