New Delhi: Manchester United’s newly joined striker Alexis Sanchez has been handed a 16-month prison sentence in Spain for tax fraud during his time at Barcelona. The Chilean, who is Premier League’s best-paid player till now, admitted defrauding Spanish tax authorities of $1,249515 from image rights during his time with the Catalan football giants. Also Read - Lionel Messi: Inter Milan Tried to Sign Argentina Star For €250m in 2006, Confirms Former Barcelona President Laporta
However, Sanchez will not have to go to prison because it is his first offense and the sentence is less than two years, but the 29-year-old has been fined $728,883 and will also repay the money to the authorities. He will also have to avoid committing a crime in the next two years to avoid jail-time. Also Read - We Hope Lionel Messi Can Be Seduced Into Staying at Barcelona: Gerard Pique
The Chilean, who had set up a Maltese company called Numidia Trading in a tax avoidance scheme to stop paying on his image rights deals between 2012 and 2013, was represented in court by the same lawyer who defended his former teammate Javier Mascherano on similar charges. Also Read - Lionel Messi: Barcelona Star Looking Lonely During Training Will Break Hearts of Fans | WATCH VIDEO
The striker is the latest in a long list of high profile prosecutions brought by Spanish authorities against football personalities and their tax payments. Earlier, Lionel Messi was given a 21-month prison sentence in 2016, but exchanged it for a £223,000 fine last year. Also, Cristiano Ronaldo’s case over unpaid taxes of £13m is ongoing.