Lionel Messi isn’t a man who’s used to sitting on benches, especially not ones in a court room. He’s also not that used to getting insulted, unless of course he’s in Madrid or a Japanese airport.
But this morning, as Messi made his way up the steps of the court house in which he’s being tried for alleged tax fraud, a group of Spaniards could be heard shouting “Go and play for Panama, you bastard!” and “Thief!”
Panama, in fairness, does look quite nice and should Messi hang up his Barcelona boots, it’s gotta be on the list.
But well played, heckler! Messi’s name did in fact appear in Panama Papers — the 11.5 million leaked documents from the Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca that revealed confidential goings-on in the realm of tax evasion and shady financial activities of the world’s elite.
- Read more: How Do The Panama Papers Affect Argentina?
Leo and his father, Jorge, arrived at the Court of Barcelona at 6 AM to testify ahead of their trial for tax evasion when the insults were thrown his way.
The prosecution presented its case, stating they believe Jorge Messi is entirely responsible for the €4.1 million evasion, while the defense has argued that neither Leo nor Messi Senior had any idea and were acting under the instruction of advisors.
The penalty for Jorge stands at 18 months in prison, while Leo looks set to go free having already admitted he never reads contracts, he just signs them. He also added during his testimony that he had never, ever suspected anyone of any wrongdoing, he just trusted his lawyers and played football.
Fellow Barcelona player and compatriot Javier Mascherano was sentenced to a year in jail back in January, but managed to pay a fine instead.