MADRID, July 6 (Xinhua) -- A Barcelona court on Wednesday sentenced FC Barcelona' s Leo Messi and his father Jorge, to 21 months each in prison for tax evasion.
The verdict does not mean that either of the Messis will go to jail, as the norm in Spain is for people who are given sentences of under 2 years for their first offense to not have to serve a prison sentence.
The pair also have the right to appeal to the Spanish supreme court, something, which in Leo' s case at least, is likely.
The case dates back to unpaid taxes from the years 2007-2009 and Leo admitted in his court hearing in June that he had signed documents without reading them and that he left his
financial dealings to his father and advisors.
It had looked as if he would escape charges earlier this year when the Spanish Treasury accepted the explanation that he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing, but the Spanish State Prosecutor moved in to press charges against the footballer, saying even a child knew they had to pay taxes.
FC Barcelona were quick to lend their support to their star player, publishing a message on the official club website saying that in according with the Treasury, "considers that the player, who has already brought his situation up to date with the Spanish Treasury, has no kind of penal responsibility in relation with the events of this procedure."
Messi recently announced his retirement from the Argentina national team after their defeat to Chile on penalties at the end of June' s Copa America.