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Samuel Eto’o’s Legal Battles with Spanish Authorities Takes a Hefty Turn

Spanish prosecutors are seeking a hefty sentence for Samuel Eto’o. There are calls for Eto’o to serve a prison term of 10 years and six months for alleged tax crimes committed when he played for Barcelona.

Prosecutors are also demanding a fine of $15.1 million for the four counts of tax fraud for supposedly defrauding Spain’s tax authority tax fraud of approximately $4 million from 2006-09, according to recently released court documents.

There is no official comment from Eto’o’s camp, but the Cameroonian former international has denied any wrong doing in the past, saying he was not directly involved in his tax matters. Eto’o who played 198 times for Barcelona between 2004 and 2009, scoring 129 times has accused Mata of mismanaging his finances but the lawyer denies any wrong doing.

It is reported that the 35-year-old connived with Mata to evade income tax payments on his sponsorship deal with Puma by transferring his image rights to two shell corporation companies – Bulte 2002 (Spanish) and Tradesport (Hungarian) in what became a complicated and illegal image rights structure.

Spanish tax authorities argue that Eto’o was in fact the sole owner of his image rights making the multimillion Puma sponsorship deal taxable at 45% which was not declared. Prosecutors are also asking that Eto’o gives up any possible fiscal incentives for as long as it takes.

There are calls for the player’s representative at the time, Jose Maria Mesalles Mata to receive the same sentence. The administrator of a company that facilitated the deals, Manuel de Jesus Lastre Abreu, is facing more than six years in prison and a fine of $2.3 million.

The case has been ongoing since the summer of 2012 but several delays have interrupted the proceedings.

In July, Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to 21 months in prison along with a fine of millions of euros.

Neymar is the latest Barcelona star risking a two-year jail term and fine for his part in a corruption scandal. His case is set to stand trial. Two other Barcelona players, Javier Mascherano and Adriano were also charged for their involvement in tax fraud


Featured Photo: Samuel Eto’o among current and former Barcelona stars who have been charged by Spanish Prosecutors for illegal tax activity (Manu Fernandez/AP Photo/Files)

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