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Messi family dismisses 'Panama Papers' accusations

Lionel Messi's family has dismissed accusations made following the release of the "Panama Papers" as "false and libelous."

Various media reports had drawn links between the Barcelona star and the documents released from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca but in a statement released on Monday, the Messi family dismissed those reports.

In light of the allegations, the family suggested that they are considering legal action against "media outlets that have published this news."

"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 libelous," the statement read. 

"The Panamian company referred to in the reports is a completely inactive company, which never held open accounts nor funds and which comes from the former company structure put in place by Messi's previous financial advisers, the fiscal consequences of which have already been normalized, with all the income that comes from exploitation of his image rights, prior to and after the procedure carried out in the courts, having been declared before the Spanish Treasury.

"Additionally, in the reports certain information is linked with events that are completely unrelated, currently pending resolution, or even with cases shelved by the court, such is the case of the "charity matches". 
"Without a doubt, the facts on which the information is gleaned from is based on mere conjecture and come from biased documentation, which has been released using the Messi surname and his reputation as a demand. The previous actions are especially serious since there is an accusation for crimes as serious as tax fraud and money laundering, causing irreparable damage for Lionel Messi. 
"Considering the above, the Messi family has instructed their lawyers from the Cuatrecasas Goncalves Pereira legal firm to analyze the possible filing of legal action against the media outlets that have published this news."

Following Messi's family statement, FC Barcelona released a statement of its own:

"Following the claims that place Leo Messi at the creation of a corporate structure with the supposed intention of committing tax fraud, FC Barcelona states that:

"1. The club supports the arguments which the Messi family published in a statement today.

"2. Since the very first moment that the ‘Panama papers’ which accuse Leo Messi were released, FC Barcelona has sent its affection and support to the player and to his whole family. The Club makes all of its judicial means, fiscal and administrative, at the family’s disposal in order to make his actions and honour clear in this case."