Daily Archives: July 10, 2017

Lionel Messi tax fraud prison sentence reduced to fine

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The 21-month prison sentence placed upon Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been been changed to a fine by Spanish Courts.

Messi, along with his father Jorge, was sentenced as guilty in the crime of defrauding Spain of €4.1m between 2007 and 2009. Both were charged with using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.

Although both were handed prison sentences, they were ever expected to serve time in jail as under the Spanish system in which prison terms of under two years can be served under probation.

But at present, the court said in a statement that the adjusted sanctions imposes a €400 fine for each of the sentence €252,000 upon the player.

His father’s 15-month sentence has also been replaced with a €180,000 fine.

The fine is placed on top of another fine Messi had paid at the time of his sentence, with his amounting to €2m and his father €1.5m. Both had also made a voluntary €5m “corrective payment”, equal to the alleged unpaid tax plus interest, in August 2013.

Messi also failed in his appeal against the sentence after it was rejected by Spain’s Supreme Court last month, but his father’s jail time was reduced because he had paid some of the taxes.

Nonetheless, the fine is not expected to hinder Messi’s finances after he had agreed upon a new £500k per week Barcelona contract until 2021, with Marca reporting an included release clause of €300m.

Romelu Lukaku confirms move to Manchester United

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Romelu Lukaku has confirmed his transfer to Manchester United for a fee of £75m that has the potential to rise to £90m with add-ons.

Lukaku is currently in the United States, where he completed a medical over the weekend and is expected to be unveiled in a United shirt in Los Angeles within the next few days.

“This is an opportunity I’ve always wanted since I was a child,” the Belgium striker told ESPN in the first interview since his switch. “When Manchester United came calling I didn’t have to think twice. I’m really delighted to be part of their history. Who would say no to the biggest club in the world?”

“This is the perfect opportunity. Best stadium in England, the best fans. My mind was already set, I gave my word and I don’t look back.”

Lukaku is also thrilled to be joining up with his close friend Paul Pogba with whom he shares an agent in Mino Raiola.

Although Chelsea has also tried to re-sign Lukaku, Raiola said that the Blues were not willing to match the fees Lukaku would earn if the forward moved to Old Trafford.

United manager Jose Mourinho was manager of Chelsea when they sold Lukaku to Everton for £28m in July 2014, but the player was still able to flourish in the mid-table club, and scored 25 Premier League goals last season as Everton finished seventh.

Meanwhile, while United have named a 27-man squad for their preseason tour of the United States, the initial list did not include Lukaku; instead, Victor Lindelof, another new United signing is part of the group that flies to Los Angeles on Sunday, while youngsters Scott McTominay and Demitri Mitchell are also included.

Chelsea completes move for Roma defender Antonio Rudiger

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Chelsea has completed the signing of Germany defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma on a five-year contract for an initial fee of £29m.

The fee for Rudiger could also rise to £33.3m through add-on clauses. He initially joined Roma on a season-long loan from Stuttgart, and will help fill the void left by John Terry’s departure for Aston Villa under freedom of contract.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who aimed to either Virgil van Dijk or Leonardo Bonucci to Stamford Bridge, was forced to switch targets due to the valuations placed on those players by Southampton and Juventus respectively.

As comparison, Rudiger, who Roma an initial £3.5m plus a further £7.9m when making his move permanent last summer, was a more distinct and attractive option as Conte seeks reinforcement upon the back line for the Premier League winners, who would also be joining the Champions League in Europe after a season-long hiatus.

Rudiger made the switch just one week after helping Germany win the FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 24-year-old said that he felt positive about his move to join the Premier League champions.

“It’s a great feeling because not every player has the opportunity to join a huge club like this,” said Rudiger. “I am looking forward to meeting up with my new team-mates and I’m very proud to officially become a Chelsea player.”

However, because he was set to take a break after his involvement in the Confederations Cup, Rudiger is unlikely to be involved when the majority of Antonio Conte’s squad return to pre-season training on Monday.