Footballer Samuel Eto’o accused of tax evasion in Spain, risks jail term

Footballer Samuel Eto'o accused of tax evasion in Spain, risks jail term 1

 A Spanish public prosecutor has accused Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o of conspiring to evade 3.5 million euros in taxes owed on income from his image rights when he was playing for Barcelona between 2006-2009.

The former Barca and Inter Milan player, now with Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala, is accused of four tax offences, each punishable with up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as 21 million euros.

The case presented by the
prosecutor on June 15 at a Barcelona court, and which was seen by
Reuters on Thursday, asks a judge to open proceedings against the
player before the statute of limitations on one of the alleged offences
expires on Saturday.
recently launched a drive against tax evasion as it struggles to meet
tough European deficit reduction targets that have meant budget cuts
for hospitals and schools.
allegedly created two companies, one in Hungary and another in Spain,
and used them to channel income obtained from ceding his image rights
to Barca and sportswear maker Puma, the prosecutor said.
The Hungarian company paid one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe – 10 percent to 19 percent – while the Spanish company paid a reduced corporate tax rate of 30 percent to 35 percent, instead of the 45 percent income tax rate, the charge said.
Eto’o also
allegedly used the Spanish company to deduct personal expenses, such as
payments for his mortgages, furniture and expenses related to his
luxury cars, the complaint added.
Eto’o and
his club could not immediately be reached for comment. The prosecutor
also accused Eto’o’s former agent, Jose Maria Mesalles, and the manager
of the Spanish company, Manuel de Jesus Lastre, of the same tax
Eto’o filed
a lawsuit against Mesalles at a Barcelona court last year, accusing
him of betraying his trust and of embezzling money, local media said.
 Eto’o and his club are yet to respond to the allegations.
Source: (Reuters)

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