Barcelona's state prosecutor said on Friday it was not opposed to substituting a 21-month prison sentence for a fine for tax fraud handed down to soccer player Lionel Messi, as long as the fine was the maximum allowed under law.
The maximum fine would be around €255,500 on top of a nearly €2 million fine handed down as part of last year's sentence.
Neither is the prosecutor opposed to suspending Messi's prison sentence, and that of his father, on proviso that they have no more brushes with the law for three years given that both have had clean criminal records up to now.
Jorge Messi will pay €180,000 instead of a 15-month jail term.
Messi and his father were found guilty by a Catalan court last July on three counts of tax fraud between 2007 and 2009 to the tune of €4.1 million on image rights.
The judge in charge of the case will make a decision bearing in mind the prosecutor's recommendations. Judges usually follow the state prosecutor's recommendations in Spain.
In 2013, when a formal investigation began, Messi and his father made a voluntary €5 million payment to the Spanish tax authorities as a “corrective” measure.
Messi is the world’s fourth-highest paid athlete, and in 2015 earned $73.8 million between contracts and endorsements, according to Forbes.