Former Barça player Samuel Eto’o has been sentenced to 22 months in prison for hiding 3.8 million euros from the Spanish tax authorities between 2006 and 2009, Mundo Deportivo report on Monday. The former Cameroonian international will however remain free, with prison sentences of less than two years being automatically executed in Spain.
The court has decided. As reported by Mundo Deportivo this Monday, Samuel Eto’o was sentenced to 22 months in prison for tax evasion. He was found guilty of having hidden 3.8 million euros between 2006 and 2009 from the Spanish Treasury when he was playing for FC Barcelona. Its former representative José Maria Mesalles, tried for the same offence, was sentenced to one year in prison. Four years (Eto’o) and six months (Mesalles) had initially been required by the prosecution.
Eto’o, president of the Cameroon Football Federation since last January, and his former representative will however remain free, sentences of less than two years in Spain being only very rarely carried out and the absence of a criminal record exempting Eto’o and his former prison officer. The two men will however have to pay a heavy fine, 1.8 million euros for Eto’o and 900,000 euros for José Maria Mesalles.
In 2016, Lionel and Jorge Messi were also able to stay free after being sentenced to 21 months in prison for having evaded taxes up to 4.1 million euros between 2007 and 2009.
“I recognize the facts and I will pay, but let it be known that I was a child at the time and that I always did what my father (he considered Messalles as such, editor’s note) asked me to do”, defended Eto’o, in remarks reported by Mundo Deportivo. The former Barcelonan has also filed a complaint against his former representative for fraud and embezzlement in the management of his assets.