Leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm, which also known as the Panama Papers, have exposed dealings that include the name from the football world and few members of the FIFA ethics committee.
The members of the FIFA ethics committee included in the leaked documents are Juan Pedro Damiani, Jérôme Valcke, Leonardo Ulloa and former UEFA President, Michel Platini.
The leaked documents are the latest blow to the scandal-plagued Fédération Internationale de Football Association or FIFA. Last year, the US Justice Department accused 16 FIFA officials of bribery for collecting millions of dollars for dispensing media and marketing rights for tournaments.
Argentine International Lionel Messi currently the highest-profile athlete to name in the much-talked Panama Papers massive document leaks held by the law firm Mossack Fonseca in which formal dealings of some of the world’s richest and powerful people are detailed.
Last year, Messi and his father have been charged with three counts of tax frauds for allegedly defrauding Spain’s tax office of a whopping 4.1 million euros ($4.4 million) in unpaid taxes from the year 2007 to 2009. Messi and his father were found to be the owners of a certain Panama offshore company called Mega Star Enterprises.
According to from the earlier reports by The Independent, the Messis have done nothing illegal, but the Madrid-based daily El Confidencial accuses them of using Mega Star Enterprises as part of a “tax fraud network”, where they can be avoided paying taxes in Spain on image rights deals. The Spanish court has already announced that they will try the Messis on tax-evasion charges in May.
Documents produced by Madrid-based daily El Confidencial show both signatures of Lionel Messi and his father in acquiring the Panamian offshore firm Mega Star Enterprises, through an Uruguay-based buffer company, just one day after being indicted by Spanish fiscal authorities over a separate case about unpaid taxes.
However, the Messis have released a statement in which it deny all charges.
“In response to the news released by various media outlets in which Lionel Messi is held responsible for the forming of a company with the aim of ‘putting in place a new web of tax fraud’, the Messi family wishes to make it clear that Lionel Messi has not carried out any of the actions he is accused of, the accusations of having ‘created a new web of tax fraud’ and, even, money laundering, are false and libellous,” the statement read, via The Mirror.
The paper published in Spain by Madrid-based El Confidencial originates from Mossack Fonseca, a company in Panama that specializes in offshore businesses.