- Javier Mascherano charged with two counts of defrauding tax authorities
- The two counts against the Argentine totalled more than £1.1million
- Mascherano accused of defrauding authorities of £435,559.84 in 2011
- He is also accused of defrauding authorities of £717,933.84 in 2012
- Mascherano paid the money owed plus almost £150,000 interest
Barcelona’s Argentina international Javier Mascherano has been charged with two counts of defrauding the Spanish tax authorities of a total of more than £1.1million.
Mascherano, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool in August 2010, is alleged to have sought to conceal earnings from his image rights by using companies set up in the United States and Portugal, the prosecutor’s office said.
The 31-year-old is accused of defrauding the authorities of £435,559.84 in 2011 and £717,933.84 in 2012, they added.
Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano (right) has been charged with two counts of tax fraud totalling over £1.1m
Mascherano, who made no immediate public comment on the charges, this month paid the money owed plus almost £150,000 interest, the office said, and local media reported this could work in his favour if he is found guilty.
Barcelona did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mascherano is the latest high-profile soccer player to be accused of tax fraud following the likes of his Barcelona and Argentina team mate Lionel Messi, who has been caught up in a similar case involving earnings from image rights.
Mascherano in action during Barcelona’s La Liga match against Las Palmas at the Nou Camp on Saturday
The Argentine (right) has paid back the money owed plus almost £150,000 more in interest
Messi and his father were accused of defrauding the Spanish state of more than £3million by filing false returns for the years 2006 to 2009. They have denied wrongdoing.
Another Barcelona player, Brazil forward Neymar, has been named in a lawsuit filed by investment fund DIS that alleges it was the victim of a fraud perpetrated in the signing of the player from Santos in 2013.
Barcelona, former president Sandro Rosell, incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu, Neymar, his father, Santos and two of the Brazilian club’s executives were all named in the suit.
Mascherano’s team-mates Neymar (left) and Lionel Messi (right) have also both been accused of tax fraud
Barca said the club had acted ‘fully within the law’ and rejected the accusations.
In a separate tax evasion case in Brazil, Neymar’s parents last week denied any wrongdoing after a judge froze almost £33m of the player’s assets.
Neymar is accused of failing to pay around £9.8m in taxes between 2011 and 2013 but his parents said he ‘cannot declare what is not his’ and their son was not a partner in firms a judge said were part-owned by the player.
A Spanish judge must now rule on whether the Mascherano case should go to trial.
Source: Daily Mail