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Barcelona's Javier Mascherano admits tax fraud

Gava: FC Barcelona's Javier Mascherano admitted to two counts of tax fraud totalling just over 1.5 million euros (Rs 10 crores approximately) before a judge yesterday.

Barcelona's Javier Mascherano arrives at a court in Gava, Spain yesterday. Pic/AP,PTI
Barcelona's Javier Mascherano arrives at a court in Gava, Spain yesterday. Pic/AP,PTI

Mascherano arrived at the court in Gava, a coastal town on the outskirts of Barcelona where the player resides, at 0900 local time (0800GMT) accompanied by his lawyers.

His testimony before the court lasted barely five minutes as he recognised having committed the crime. Spanish state prosecutors alleged the former West Ham and Liverpool midfielder failed to declare over 1.5 million euros in earnings in 2011 and 2012 by ceding his image rights to companies he owns in Portugal and the United States.

No need for a probe
"Mascherano admitted the facts of the two counts of tax fraud, so there was no need to interrogate him," said a judicial source. A court filing released last month confirmed Mascherano deposited nearly 1.75 million euros with the tax authorities on September 9 to repay the amount owed plus interest. The judge must now decide whether the case proceeds to trial.

However, given that player has admitted his guilt and paid the amount owed plus interest it is possible his defence and the prosecution will come to an agreement in the form of a fine before going to trial.

Mascherano has also been in trouble on the field as he was handed a two-game ban on Wednesday for insulting the referee as he was sent-off in Barca's 3-1 win over Eibar last weekend.

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