Alexis Sanchez escapes jail for tax fraud but Man Utd star's agent blasts 'nightmare' witch-hunt

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The Chilean was handed a 16-month suspended sentence by Spanish authorities after admitting to wrongdoing during his time on the books at Barcelona

Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez will not go to prison after admitting to tax fraud in Spain, but his agent has hit out at an “unfair” system making scapegoats of high-profile foreign figures.

The Chilean forward has been handed a 16-month suspended sentence after entering into a plea bargain with the relevant authorities.

His charges relate to a spell on the books at Barcelona between 2012 and 2013 and the defrauding of €1 million on image rights.

Sanchez is not the first to have faced punishment for said actions, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo enduring similar problems in Spain, and the 29-year-old’s representative has accused the system of being rigged against those to have committed mere “supposed crimes”.

Fernando Felicevich said in a lengthy statement posted on his social media accounts: “Today the Spanish tax agency has once again leaked details of an agreement between our representative Alexis Sanchez and Spanish prosecutors.

“Spanish prosecutors and its treasury department have placed more than 30 professional footballers in the same situation, accusing them of the same crimes and threatening them with prison sentences.

“Almost every member of the Real Madrid and Barcelona squad have been placed in this situation, even though these clubs use a standard pay formula for their first team which has been accepted by the Spanish treasury in the past.

“Throughout all these cases, whilst violating the rights of those under investigation, the repeated, continuous and obscene leaks have been an element of pressure on the players to force them to accept agreements like the one today, which once again has been leaked to the media.

“On some occasions, there has been no other way out but to surrender to the pressure, and to avoid worst injustices, accept unfair agreements like this one.

“Many players and managers have had to do the same thing, and many others will continue to do so.”

Alexis Sanchez Manchester United Huddersfield

He added: “Prosecutors have decided on their own criteria which players to accuse, almost all of them foreigners, and exercised threats and public pressure through the media to force the players and managers to accept these totally unjust agreements.

“In these circumstances, and despite having shown that Alexis has not committed any crime, we have been obliged on the recommendation of our advisors, to accept this unjust agreement and therefore alleviate the emotional, personal and economic erosion caused by having to endure lengthy trials.

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“Seeing the nightmare companions like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, etc have been through, we have reached the conclusion that it is better to accept an unfair settlement so we can move on and not continue to be subjected to media and political pressures.”

Barcelona superstar Messi was handed a 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud in July 2016, although that punishment was later changed to a fine.

Real Madrid talisman Ronaldo remains embroiled in a lengthy fight against Spanish authorities, along with former Blancos boss – and Sanchez’s current manager at Old Trafford – Jose Mourinho.

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