Lionel Messi will not spend any time in jail after a Barcelona court agreed that his 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud could be replaced with a fine of around €252,000.
Messi’s father Jorge, whose original sentence was reduced to 15 months upon appeal, has also seen his punishment exchanged for a fine of around €180,000.
Prosecutors first said last month that they were not opposed to the Barca star being fined €400 per day for the duration of the sentence, an option also put forward by the player’s defence team.
A judge has now accepted that proposition put forward by prosecutors by making what should be the final decision in a case which has been ongoing for a number of years.
Messi and his father were both found guilty of three counts of tax fraud totalling €4.7 million last year. In addition to their sentences, they were ordered to pay fines of €2m and €1.5m respectively.
They were found to have used tax havens in Belize and Uruguay as well as shell companies in the United Kingdom and Switzerland to avoid paying taxes on earnings from Messi’s image rights between 2007 and 2009.
Neither were expected to serve their sentences as sentences under two years in Spain are usually suspended.
It comes after a busy few weeks for Messi, who turned 30 at the end of June before marrying childhood sweetheart Antonela Roccuzzo in his native Rosario last weekend.