Cameroonian and former Barcelona soccer star has come under fire for participating in tax fraud. The prosecutors are bidding to have him handed a 10-year jail term plus a fine of $15 million dollars for an alleged tax fraud.
The allegations against Eto’o state that while he was a player at Barcelona, he set up front companies in order to avoid paying taxes for three years; between 2006 and 2009.
“The footballer pretended he had ceded his rights to two other companies in Hungary and Spain so as to fraudulently avoid paying taxes,” they added in accusations seen by AFP calling for Eto’o to be tried.
The prosecutors added that the funds which totalled about 3.9 million euros were siphoned to a Hungary-based company, and were not taxed in Spain.
The funds in the Spanish firm were also taxed at a lower rate due to it falling under corporate taxes rather than income taxes.
The striker, who is now a forward at Turkish side, Antalyaspor, is expected to pay a 14.3-million-euro fine which is the sum total of the avoided tax and interest. He is also expected to serve a prison sentence of 18 months for the 2006 fraud, and then three years jail for each subsequent year until 2009, which adds up to 10-and-a-half years.
The four-time African Player of the year is, however, unlikely to serve out his complete sentence, due to some prisoners getting parole for good behaviour. It is also likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of fewer than two years.
Some months ago, World football star Leo Messi, who plays for Barcelona, was also accused of a tax fraud.
His father, Jorge Messi, also received a jail term for defrauding Spain of €4.1 million (£3.5m; $4.5m) between 2007 and 2009. Along with the jail terms, they both face millions of euros in fines for using tax havens in Belize and Uruguay to conceal earnings from image rights.
Other players in the Barcelona team who have been convicted of tax fraud include Javier Mascherano, as well as Brazil’s Adriano and Chile’s Alexis Sanchez.