Barcelona (AFP) – Spanish prosecutors filed an official complaint Wednesday against Barcelona defender Adriano Correia for suspected tax fraud, just weeks before his superstar teammate Lionel Messi stands trial on the same charges.
Adriano is the third player at the club accused of defrauding the Spanish taxman through the murky management of their image rights.
According to the complaint, prosecutors accuse the Brazilian of defrauding fiscal authorities of 646,086 euros ($740,000) between 2011 and 2012 by not declaring revenues gained from the use of his image rights.
Prosecutors say that Adriano and his club later settled the debt owed to Spanish tax authorities after these initiated a probe.
But they still decided to take action against the 31-year-old, accusing him of having committed an offence.
“He won’t have to pay back the money now, but pay a fine or whatever is adequate,” they said.
The news comes just weeks before Argentina star Messi and his father Jorge go on trial on May 31 for tax fraud for allegedly failing to declare 4.16 million euros in taxes related to his image rights between 2007 and 2009.
Messi has not admitted to any crime, insisting it was his father who managed his finances.
Argentina’s Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, accepted a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 816,000 euros in January for committing tax fraud of 1.5 million euros.