Forrmer FC Barcelona footballer, Samuel Eto’o Fils and his former representative José María Mesalles have accepted this Monday the sentences of 22 months and one year in prison, respectively, after acknowledging having defrauded 3,872,621 euros from the Public Treasury, between 2006 and 2009.
In his statement in the Criminal Court number 11 of Barcelona, Eto’o has admitted the fraud but has blamed it, without citing him directly, to Mesalles, whom he has always defined as “a second father”.
“I recognize the facts and I am going to pay, but let it be known that I was a child then and that I always did what my father asked me to do,” said Samuel Eto’o.
Mesalles , for his part, has preferred not to testify before admitting the facts, in a conformity trial in which the third accused, Jesús Lastre , administrator of one of the instrumental companies used in the fraud, has been acquitted.
In its indictment, the prosecution requested sentences of 4 years and 6 months in prison for Eto’o and Mesalles , which have finally been reduced to 22 months for the former player, as the author of four crimes against the Public Treasury, and one year for his former agent as necessary co-operator.
Likewise, the former African striker has been sentenced to pay four fines, one for each crime, amounting to 1,810,310 euros, and his former representative to another four for a total value of 905,155 euros.
The sentences, whose execution will be suspended since neither of them has a previous criminal record, have been mitigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office by recognizing both the facts and having partially repaired the damage with the return of part of the defrauded fees.
The fraud relates to Eto’o failing to declare income derived from the transfer of image rights to Puma and Barcelona in his personal income tax return between 2006 and 2009.
Eto’o pretended that such rights had been assigned to two companies resident in Hungary and Spain, so that the income diverted to the Hungarian company, managed by Lastre , was not taxed to the Treasury, while that diverted to the Spanish company, managed by Mesalles , will not be taxed heavily, that is, corresponding to his Personal Income tax.