Messi arrives in court for tax fraud case

The Argentine and his father will answer questions before a Spanish court regarding charges that they hid over €4 million in tax returns - charges they both deny
Barcelona star Lionel Messi and his father have arrived in court to answer charges of alleged tax fraud.

Messi is appearing before a Spanish court after a complaint was lodged by a state prosecutor in June stating that he and his father Jorge tried to conceal earnings from the player's image rights.

The pair were originally ordered to appear at the court near Messi's home outside of Barcelona on September 17 but the date was postponed.

Both the Argentina forward and his father have denied any wrongdoing but the charges state that they hid more than €4 million by filing incomplete returns for the years 2006 to 2009.

"I never take care of that [tax] stuff myself and neither does my father," Messi said in July. "We have our lawyers and our wealth managers to take care of that and we trust them and they will sort this out.

"The truth is I don’t have a clue about all this and that is why we have people taking care of it."

Messi has already made a corrective payment to Spanish authorities of just over €5m - the unpaid tax plus interest  - and Friday's hearing will determine whether the case is pursued any further.

The Barcelona man's father was due in court first, with Messi himself scheduled to be questioned an hour later.