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Spanish tax authorities scruntinise Messi's foundation

AFP  |  Madrid 

Spanish authorities are investigating whether payments from FC to Lionel Messi's foundation were used to help the evade taxes, Spanish daily reported today. The newspaper, which has acquired documents, reported that the club gave the foundation "at least 12.7 million euros ($15.5 million) between 2010 and 2016". The paper said that the payments from Barca represented 71.5 percent of the foundation's between 2013 and 2016. The foundation says on its website that it "was created in 2007 with the wish that all children should have the same opportunities to make their dreams come true, and to promote equality in education and health." Between 2010 and the official registration of the foundation in June 2013, the club reduced the corporate they paid on the money by 35 percent, in line with rules on donations to charities. Those payments raised the suspicions of the authorities which, in January 2016, began to investigate whether the money had been "remunerative" and evaded corporate and income In April 2016, investigators visited the offices -- not for the first time in recent years. After the official scrutiny began, the club stopped making the deductions from their donations and started withholding 45 per cent for taxes suggesting, the newspaper said, that the payments "were considered part of the salary" of the Argentine star. said that the club had urged Messi, already being investigated for a 4.1 million-euro fraud relating to his image rights, to "regularise the donations to his foundation".

In the image rights case, and his father, Jorge, were found guilty in 2016. said that, by law, 70 percent of a charity's should be spent on the aims for which it was created but a report in another Spanish newspaper, ABC, found the foundation's accounts were full of gaps but included large sums spent on external consultants, rent and refurbishing its offices or transferred to its branch in According to documents examined by El Mundo, a settlement was paid to the Spanish treasury, in theory by but ultimately by Barca, which made up the amount in a complex transaction days before the signed a new contract last November. That contract, which runs until 2021, will pay more than 100 million euros a year including salary and image rights according to information published on Friday by the European Investigation Collaborations, which includes El Mundo.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 13 2018. 20:20 IST
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