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Lionel Messi and his father to stand trial in Spain on 3 counts of tax fraud


MADRID — Lionel Messi will stand trial in Spain on three counts of tax fraud.

Court documents made public Thursday say a judge has rejected a request to clear the Barcelona player of wrongdoing and decided to charge him and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, with tax fraud.

Prosecutors had said Messi — a four-time world player of the year — was not fully aware of his father's unlawful activities, but the state attorney's office contended that the Argentina forward knew enough to also be named in the case. Prosecutors had called for an 18-month prison sentence for the player's father.

A judge had recently rejected an appeal filed by the player's lawyers to drop the Barcelona star from the case.

Messi and his father are accused of defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09.

Messi's father made a payment of more than 5 million euros ($5.6 million) in August 2013 to cover unpaid taxes, plus interest.

A date for the trial has not yet been set.

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