Here is another soccer star who has got into the taxman's net. Argentina's global soccer star Lionel Messi had avoided a 21-month-long prison sentence for tax evasion by paying a hefty fine. Portugal's star Cristiano Ronaldo made a similar prison term escape for tax fraud. Now former Cameroon forward, Samuel Eto’o is the new addition to this high-profile dubious footballing star list.
Samuel Eto'o has been given a suspended prison sentence in Spain for tax fraud during the time he played for Barcelona, a Spanish court said on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old Eto’o played for Barcelona from the years 2004-09, helping it win two Champions League titles and three Spanish league trophies. He also represented Real Madrid, Real Mallorca, Inter Milan, and Chelsea in a career spanning 22 years. He retired in 2019, and then took up the position of president of the Cameroonian football federation.
In an agreement with tax authorities, Eto’o received a 22-month prison sentence and will have to repay nearly 4 million euros ($4.2 million) in taxes owed. He avoided serving time because in Spain sentences shorter than two years can be suspended for first-time offenders.
Eto’o, who was fined, accepted the judgement but blamed his representative, José Maria Mesalles, for what happened. Mesalles was handed a one-year prison sentence. The prosecution had requested prison sentences of four years and six months each for Eto'o and Mesalles. The sentences were suspended as neither Eto'o nor Mesalles have a criminal record and the terms are less than two years.
-Source (AP - Madrid)