Photo Credit: PerfectSmile_LeoCuccini/Flickr

The world’s biggest sports star is in a bit of legal heat this week. After a four-day trial in Barcelona, Lionel Messi and his father were sentenced to 21 months in prison for committing tax fraud.

The courts found that Jorge Horacio Messi and his father had committed $4.6 million in fraud; the allotted sum being found when tax inspectors “Messi’s father used companies in countries such as Uruguay, Switzerland and Belize to reduce tax on the player’s income from image rights.” The six-time La Liga player of the year and his father were also fined approximately $2.2 million and $1.7 million in addition to their prison sentence.

A major world soccer player going to jail would be major news of course, alas Messi will not be serving time in Spanish prison. According to the report by the Los Angeles Times, “Under Spanish law, sentences of less than two years for first offenses are suspended, meaning that neither man will go to jail.”

Messi has been one of the top players in all of world soccer; having played for Barcelona FC since 2004 and served 12 years on the Argentine National Team before retiring from international play last month.