MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court declined a request by the State Agency for Tax Administration to set bail for Lionel Messi and his father in a case of alleged tax fraud after ruling that a payment made satisfied the case's legal requirements on Wednesday.
In its ruling, a Catalan court said a payment of more than 5 million euros ($6.6 million) made by Jorge Horacio Messi, the Barcelona star's father, made it unlikely that either Messi or his father would withhold funds "during the legal process of a pending tax fraud trial."
The complaint, originally lodged by Raquel Amado, a state prosecutor for the northeastern region of Catalonia, alleged Messi tried to conceal the extent of his earnings and that he owed 4 million euros ($5.3 million) in back taxes.
"Given the global impact of professional footballer Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini, and therefore his solvency," and the payment of 5,016,542.27 euros, an amount "the tax agency deems appropriate," the court threw out the bail request, the ruling said.
The court also said it was considering a request made by one of Messi's lawyers to postpone a court hearing set for Sept. 17. It said a ruling on a possible postponement would be announced soon.
The court statement said Messi's father made the payment, which was intended to cover alleged taxes outstanding plus interest, on Aug. 14.
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