No prison time for soccer star Lionel Messi in tax fraud case

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 26: Lionel Messi #10 of Argentina looks on against Chile during the Copa America Centenario Championship match at MetLife Stadium on June 26, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The good news for soccer star Lionel Messi is that he won’t be going to jail for defrauding the Spanish tax authorities. The bad news is that he’s been fined $2.3 million.

A Barcelona court ruled that between 2000 and 2009, Messi was guilty of tax fraud and that for each of those three years he should serve a sentence of seven months.

However, because this was the first time the Barcelona forward had committed an offence and his sentence was less than two years, the 29-year-old Messi won’t serve jail time as long as he doesn’t break the law again.

Messi’s father Jorge Messi was also handed a 21-month jail sentence and a $1.7 million for tax fraud, though like his son he won’t serve time as he also doesn’t have a criminal record.

Barcelona and Messi were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNN.

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