Spanish Officials Investigates Messi For Tax Fraud, the Striker Denies Report.

Lionel Messi.
Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi and his Father, Jorge Horacio, are being investigated in Spain for allegedly defrauding the state of more than €4m (£3.4m.)

Officials said the 25-year-old Argentina forward and his father are suspected of filing fraudulent tax returns for 2007 to 2009.

They are suspected of using companies abroad- in Belize and Uruguay- to sell the rights to use his image.

The accusation therefore is that Messi and his father, with the help of firms based outside Spain- where he lives and plays club football- avoided paying more than €4m in tax.

Messi’ net annual salary at Barcelona is said to be €16m, making him one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

He has also signed some multimillion-dollar endorsements with major sponsors around the globe.

If convicted, Messi could face up to six years in prison and a large fine according to Spain’s EFE news agency.

Messi swiftly responded to the reports through his Facebook site, expressing his surprise, and then denying the allegation.

“We have just known through the media about the claim filed by the Spanish tax authorities.

“We are surprised about those news, because we have never committed any infringement. We have always fulfilled all our tax obligations, following the advices of our Tax Consultants who will take care of clarifying this situation.”

Lionel Messi is a four-time World Player of the Year recipient. He has won the European Champions League three times and scored 91 goals for club and country in one calendar year, last year.

He is considered by many experts as one of football’s best ever player.