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A Spanish prosecutor on Friday agreed to swap prison sentences imposed on Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi by a Barcelona court for a joint 510,000 euro ($569,800) fine.
Messi was sentenced to 21 months in prison for a 4.1 million euro tax fraud after he defrauded income from his image rights which he instead concealed through a network of offshore shell companies, Efe news reported.
The Spanish prosecutor's decision to waive a prison sentence was influenced by the fact that Messi has no previous criminal record.
Spanish judicial sources confirmed to Efe news that the prosecutor is willing to suspend the sentences of 21 months and 15 months in prison handed out to Messi and his father for tax fraud committed during the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In May the Spanish Supreme Court confirmed the footballer's sentence.
Now the Barcelona court must proceed with sentencing the star and his father either to prison or agree with the prosecutor and settle for a fine as punishment.
Messi's attorney had previously requested the court consider substituting the prison sentence for a fine or have his prison sentence suspended, so long as they do not commit any further criminal acts during their two-year prison sentence period, according to judicial sources.
The prosecutor, in a judicial document sent to the Spanish court, agreed to substitute the prison sentence for a fine, so long as the maximum fine was applied, 400 euro per day, totalling 255,000 euros each.
Alternatively, should the court turn down the fine and opt for the prison sentence, the prosecutor would accept a three-year probation period and if they commit any further crimes, they would serve their suspended prison sentences in full.