Mascherano Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion

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Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has reportedly pleaded guilty to a charge of tax evasion after appearing in court on Thursday.

Reports have it that he was accused of using tax havens to funnel money from image rights and defrauding the Spanish authorities of around €1.5m in 2011 and 2012.

Mascherano has by pleading guilty avoided being cross-examined by the prosecution or the state’s attorney according to Spanish papers.

It’s believed Mascherano paid in September more than €1.5m to the tax office, with ABC Deportes clarifying the payment was of the initial €1.5m and a further €200,000 in interest.

Mascherano’s repayment may work in his favour if he is convicted, El Publico add, with a more lenient punishment.

AS further explains that Mascherano’s deal with sportswear manufacturer Nike is partly related to the charge, as he used an address in the United States to register tax on the arrangement.

Image rights were also pushed through a company registered on the Portuguese island of Madeira, which offers favourable tax rates.

As Mascherano was resident in Spain for the two years concerned, his taxes should have been paid to the Spanish tax office.

Mascherano is also alleged to have excluded image rights on his tax return filed in Spain, AS reporting he paid €128,706 in taxes in 2011 when the correct amount should have been €716,528, and in 2012 he paid €281,115, not the full €1.25m.

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