Report: Javier Mascherano Likely To Avoid Prison After Tax Fraud Conviction

Javier Mascherano appears to have narrowly avoided a prison sentence, which likely would have derailed his career and FC Barcelona’s pursuit of glory.

Mascherano and Spanish tax authorities on Thursday reached a plea bargain, under which the Barcelona star is likely to avoid prison time following his conviction on tax fraud charges, according to The Associated Press. Mascherano accepted a one-year custodial sentence, but his lawyers have requested he pay a €815,000 (£629,000/$883,000) fine instead of serving time at a facility.

Mascherano pleaded guilty in October to evading taxes on income he received from image rights between 2011 and 2012, using shell companies in Portugal and the United States. Mascherano blamed his former tax attorneys and repaid €1.5 million (£1.1 million/$1.6 million) worth of back taxes, plus interest.

The 31-year-old Argentine publicly explained his case Thursday on Twitter.

Mascherano’s tax problems are similar to those Lionel Messi faces. Spanish authorities have charged Messi and his father, Jorge Messi, with using a similar scheme to avoid paying taxes on image rights. Prosecutors are recommending the Messis spend 2 1/2 years in prison for their alleged offenses.

Thumbnail photo via Manu Fernandez/The Associated Press

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