Lionel Messi has had issues regarding money over the years, including a 21-month prison sentence for tax evasion that he doesn’t need to serve unless he commits another crime during that time. Now, it appears that the Leo Messi Foundation, Messi’s charity, is under the spotlight for irregularities that make it appear that the money going into his charity isn’t going to those who it is intending to help.
Spanish newspaper ABC (through AS) reported that Messi’s charity has been allegedly set up in order to bring in millions of euros from various sponsors and cannot be confirmed whether or not the money is going to what the charity is meant for, which is to pay for “social projects to help children with problems.”
ABC claims that from 2007 to 2015, Messi and his family allegedly laundered money he earned during that time. They report that “at least ten million euros has not been declared to the Spanish and Argentine authorities.”
There had also been irregularities in terms of when Messi’s charity was in operation. His charity was registered in Barcelona in 2013 but had been in operation since 2007. And in 2009, an office for the charity was set up in Argentina and none of this was registered by the Spanish government until 2013.
This isn’t the first time Messi’s charity allegedly exhibited some shady behavior. In the summer of 2013, Messi had a charity match in Chicago to raise money. Around 80 VIP packages, costing $2,500 each, were sold which included a meet and greet with players, as well as an autographed kit and ball by Messi himself. Instead, they got a cheap ball and a t-shirt with a replica Messi signature and Messi was nowhere to be seen. Messi was in Las Vegas the day before, showed up to play part of the game and then left before the end of the game. Messi’s marketing agency and Soldier Field blamed each other for the disaster.