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Messi prison sentence lifted in exchange for fine

Lionel Messi and his father were found guilty by a Catalan court last year of three counts of tax fraud to the tune of €4.1 million.

FILE: Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Picture: Facebook.

LONDON - A Spanish court said on Friday it has exchanged a 21-month prison sentence handed to Soccer player Lionel Messi for tax fraud last July for a quarter-of-a-million-euro fine.

The Barcelona player and his father were found guilty by a Catalan court last year of three counts of tax fraud to the tune of €4.1 million over income earned from image rights.

The father also had his 15-month sentence exchanged for a fine of €180,000, the court said.

Neither Messi or his father would have served time in jail following the original ruling as defendants without a previous conviction are permitted to serve any sentence of under two years on probation.